Lent with the Book of Exodus (Ch 19)
March 03, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Exodus 19 (Third Sunday of Lent)

In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai. When they had departed from Rephidim, and had come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mountain. Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him out of the mountain, saying, “This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings, and brought you to myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which Yahweh commanded him. All the people answered together, and said, “All that Yahweh has spoken we will do.”

Moses reported the words of the people to Yahweh. Yahweh said to Moses, “Behold, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.” Moses told the words of the people to Yahweh. Yahweh said to Moses, “Go to the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments, and be ready for the third day; for on the third day Yahweh will come down in the sight of all the people on Mount Sinai. You shall set bounds to the people all around, saying, ‘Be careful that you don’t go up onto the mountain, or touch its border. Whoever touches the mountain shall be surely put to death. No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether it is animal or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come up to the mountain.”

Moses went down from the mountain to the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. He said to the people, “Be ready by the third day. Don’t have sexual relations with a woman.”

On the third day, when it was morning, there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain, and the sound of an exceedingly loud trumpet; and all the people who were in the camp trembled. Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the lower part of the mountain. All of Mount Sinai smoked, because Yahweh descended on it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice. Yahweh came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. Yahweh called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

Yahweh said to Moses, “Go down, warn the people, lest they break through to Yahweh to gaze, and many of them perish. Let the priests also, who come near to Yahweh, sanctify themselves, lest Yahweh break out on them.”

Moses said to Yahweh, “The people can’t come up to Mount Sinai, for you warned us, saying, ‘Set bounds around the mountain, and sanctify it.’”

Yahweh said to him, “Go down! You shall bring Aaron up with you, but don’t let the priests and the people break through to come up to Yahweh, lest he break out against them.”

So Moses went down to the people, and told them.


The people then beheld the pillar of cloud, and it spoke to Moses. But who was the speaker? Obviously the pillar of cloud, which before appeared to the fathers in a corporeal form. And I have already shown that this was not directly and visibly the almighty God as such but the One whom we name as the Word of God, the Christ who was seen for the sake of the multitude of Moses and the people in a pillar of cloud, because it was not possible for them to see him like their fathers in human shape. For surely it was reserved for the perfect to be able to see beforehand his future incarnate appearance among men. And since it was impossible then for the whole people to bear it, he was seen now in fire in order to inspire fear and wonder, and now in a cloud, as it were in a shadowy and veiled form ruling them, as he was also seen by Moses for their sake. (Eusebius of Caesarea)


When Abraham offered his son Isaac, he was a type of God the Father, while Isaac prefigured our Lord and Savior. The fact that he arrived at the place of sacrifice on the third day is shown to represent the mystery of the Trinity. That the third day should be accepted in the sense of a promise or mystery of the Trinity is found frequently in the sacred books. In Exodus we read, “We will go a three days’ journey into the wilderness.” Again, upon arriving at Mt. Sinai it is said to the people, “Be sanctified, and be ready for the third day.” When Joshua was about to cross the Jordan, he admonished the people to be ready on the third day. Moreover, our Lord rose on the third day. We have mentioned all this because blessed Abraham on the third day came to the place which the Lord had shown him. (Caesarius of Arles)
The apostle Peter now rightly gives to the Gentiles this attestation of praise which formerly was given by Moses to the ancient people of God, because they believed in Christ, who like a cornerstone brought the Gentiles into that salvation which Israel had had for itself. He calls them “a chosen race” on account of their faith, that he may distinguish them from those who by rejecting the living stone have themselves become rejected. They are “a royal priesthood,” however, because they have been joined to his body who is their real king and true priest, who as king grants to his own a kingdom and as their high priest cleanses them of their sins by the sacrificial victim of his own blood. He names them “a royal priesthood” that they may remember both to hope for an eternal kingdom and always to offer to God the sacrifices of a stainless way of life. (Bede the Venerable)
Musical Selection (John Michael Talbot)
You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord
Who abide in His shadow for life
Say to the Lord
"My refuge, my rock in whom I trust!"

And He will raise you up on eagles' wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of His hand.

The snare of the fowler will never capture you
And famine will bring you no fear
Under His wings my refuge
His faithfulness your shield.

You need not fear the terror the night
Nor the arrow that flies by day
Though thousands fall about you
Near you death shall not come.

And He will raise you up on eagles' wings
Bear you on the breath of dawn
Make you to shine like the sun
And hold you in the palm of His hand.

And hold you in the palm of His hand.
O God,
source of all mercy and goodness,
in almsgiving, fasting, and prayer
you have shown us a remedy for sin.
Listen with love as we confess our weakness,
and, when we are bowed down by the knowledge of our guilt,
lift up our hearts with the assurance of your mercy.
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.