Lent with the Book of Exodus (Ch 18)
March 02, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Exodus 18 (Saturday of the Second Week of Lent)


Now Jethro, the priest of Midian, Moses’ father-in-law, heard of all that God had done for Moses and for Israel his people, how Yahweh had brought Israel out of Egypt. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, received Zipporah, Moses’ wife, after he had sent her away, and her two sons. The name of one son was Gershom, for Moses said, “I have lived as a foreigner in a foreign land”. The name of the other was Eliezer, for he said, “My father’s God was my help and delivered me from Pharaoh’s sword.” Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, came with Moses’ sons and his wife to Moses into the wilderness where he was encamped, at the Mountain of God. He said to Moses, “I, your father-in-law Jethro, have come to you with your wife, and her two sons with her.”

Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and bowed and kissed him. They asked each other of their welfare, and they came into the tent. Moses told his father-in-law all that Yahweh had done to Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake, all the hardships that had come on them on the way, and how Yahweh delivered them. Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which Yahweh had done to Israel, in that he had delivered them out of the hand of the Egyptians. Jethro said, “Blessed be Yahweh, who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh; who has delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that Yahweh is greater than all gods because of the way that they treated people arrogantly.” Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God. Aaron came with all the elders of Israel, to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.

On the next day, Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from the morning to the evening. When Moses’ father-in-law saw all that he did to the people, he said, “What is this thing that you do for the people? Why do you sit alone, and all the people stand around you from morning to evening?”

Moses said to his father-in-law, “Because the people come to me to inquire of God. When they have a matter, they come to me, and I judge between a man and his neighbor, and I make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.” Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “The thing that you do is not good. You will surely wear away, both you, and this people that is with you; for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to perform it yourself alone. Listen now to my voice. I will give you counsel, and God be with you. You represent the people before God, and bring the causes to God. You shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and shall show them the way in which they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover you shall provide out of all the people able men which fear God: men of truth, hating unjust gain; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. Let them judge the people at all times. It shall be that every great matter they shall bring to you, but every small matter they shall judge themselves. So shall it be easier for you, and they shall share the load with you. If you will do this thing, and God commands you so, then you will be able to endure, and all these people also will go to their place in peace.”

So Moses listened to the voice of his father-in-law, and did all that he had said. Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. They judged the people at all times. They brought the hard cases to Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves. Moses let his father-in-law depart, and he went his way into his own land.


When an elder is ordained, the bishop places his hand upon his head, along with the other elders, and says according to that which was said above for the bishop, praying and saying: "God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, look upon your servant here, and impart the spirit of grace and the wisdom of elders, that he may help and guide your people with a pure heart, just as you looked upon your chosen people, and commanded Moses to choose elders, whom you filled with your spirit which you gave to your attendant. Now, Lord, unceasingly preserving in us the spirit of your grace, make us worthy, so that being filled we may minister to you in singleness of heart, praising you, through your son Christ Jesus, through whom to you be glory and might, Father and Son
with the Holy Spirit, in your Holy Church, now and throughout the ages of the ages. Amen."(Hippolytus of Rome)
For nothing was ever more humble than Moses, who, being leader of so great a people, and having overwhelmed in the sea the king and the host of all the Egyptians, as if they had been flies, and having wrought so many wonders both in Egypt and by the Red Sea and in the wilderness, and received such high testimony, yet felt exactly as if he had been an ordinary person. As a son-in-law he was humbler than his father-in-law; Moses took advice from him and was not indignant. Nor did he say, “What is this? After such and so great achievements, have you come to us with your counsel?” (John Chrysostom)

Although God reveals one thing, He reveals not always the other; and oftentimes He reveals something without revealing the way in which it is to be done. For ordinarily He neither performs nor reveals anything that can be accomplished by human counsel and effort, although He may commune with the soul for a long time, very lovingly. Of this Saint Paul was very well aware, since, as we say, although he knew that the Gospel was revealed to him by God, he went to take counsel with Saint Peter. And we see this clearly in the Book of Exodus, where God had communed most familiarly with Moses, yet had never given him that salutary counsel which was given him by his father-in-law Jethro — that is to say, that he should choose other judges to assist him, so that the people should not be waiting from morning till night. This counsel God approved, though it was not He Who had given it to him, for it was a thing that fell within the limits of human judgment and reason. With respect to Divine visions and revelations and locutions, God is not wont to reveal them, for He is ever desirous that men should make such use of their own reason as is possible, and all such things have to be governed by reason, save those that are of faith, which transcend all judgment and reason, although these are not contrary to faith. (John of the Cross)


Musical Selection (John Michael Talbot)

I, the Lord of sea and sky
I have heard my people cry
All who dwell in dark and sin
My hand will save

I who made the stars of night
I will make their darkness bright
Who will bear my light to them

Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord, if You lead me
I will hold your people in my heart

I, the Lord of snow and rain
I have born my peoples pain
I have wept for love of them, they turn away

I will break their hearts of stone
Give them hearts for love alone
I will speak my word to them

Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord, if you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart

I, the Lord of wind and rain
I will tend the poor and lame
I will set a feast for them
My hand will save

Finest bread I will provide
Till their hearts be satisfied
I will give my life to them

Whom shall I send?

Here I am Lord, Is it I Lord?
I have heard you calling in the night
I will go Lord, if you lead me
I will hold your people in my heart
I will hold your people in my heart


by your healing gift of grace
you share with us the things of heaven
while we are yet on earth.
Guide us, we pray, in this our present life
and lead us to that everlasting light in which you dwell.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.