Mount Nebo, June 18, 2019
Standing on Mt. Nebo, overlooking the Plains of Canaan, it’s hard to imagine how Moses could have reached so close to the Promise Land, to observe from the Mountain what had been promised him -- and the Israelites. But Moses does not move beyond Mt. Nebo – he could only again stretch out his arm, but this time to designate the land to which God had directed him and the tribes of Israel. Moses died without setting foot in the land of Canaan (Deut. 34:6).
Mt. Nebo represents one of the most powerful biblical stories of freedom, regret, incertitude, disappointment. To experience a lifetime journey, an arduous trek through the desert, to reach one’s destination, led by God, and to die before even experiencing the reward of years of sacrifice and fidelity, how so very human! Moses’ story is the story of those who follow God. Moses like Jesus after him acts in conformity to His divine will; the fundamental difference between the Old and New Covenantis that we place ourselves before God and His Mercy, thanks to His Son Jesus Christ. Jesus stands for us – He stands in our place.
Jordan reflects the desert journey, years of wandering, the call to trust and hope. And God leaves us with leaders who are chosen to carry out His will – for us. This has been the role of the prophets, Jesus Christ as mediator, and the priest who mediates in persona Christi.
The Church dedicated to Moses reminds the pilgrim travelling through Jordan, Moses walked these hills. A Byzantine Church from the 4th century along with a monastery, serves to commemorate the life, mission and death of Moses. The mosaic covered floor remains.
Honouring God’s prophet who saves the slaves from drowning in the Red Sea, Moses points to someone far greater, the Son of God, who saves us from sin, by offering his Blood. And the Promised land is more than Canaan; the land Christ promises us is Paradise.
Fr. David Bellusci, O.P.
List by Titles