Ordinary Time
Tuesday of the Twentieth Week

“... the messenger of the LORD stretched out the tip of the staff he held. When he touched the meat and unleavened cakes, a fire came up from the rock and consumed the meat and unleavened cakes. Then the messenger of the LORD disappeared from sight.” (Judges 6:21.)

Saint Ambrose of Milan offers the following insight on this verse from today’s First Reading:

“Gideon, moved by that message, when he heard that though thousands of the people failed, God would deliver his own from their enemies by means of one man, offered a kid, and according to the word of the angel, laid its flesh and the unleavened cakes upon the rock and poured the broth upon them. And as soon as the angel touched them with the end of the staff which he bore, fire burst forth out of the rock, and so the sacrifice which he was offering was consumed. By which it seems clear that that rock was a figure of the body of Christ, for it is written: “They drank of that rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.” This certainly refers not to his Godhead but to his flesh, which watered the hearts of the thirsting people with the perpetual stream of his blood.

Even at that time was it declared in a mystery that the Lord Jesus in his flesh would, when crucified, do away the sins of the whole world, and not only the deeds of the body but the desires of the soul. For the flesh of the kid refers to sins of deed, the broth to the enticements of desire, as it is written: “For the people greedily lusted, and said, ‘Who shall give us flesh to eat?’” That the angel then stretched forth his staff and touched the rock, from which fire went out, shows that the flesh of the Lord, being filled with the divine Spirit, would burn away all the sins of human frailty. Wherefore, also, the Lord says, “I have come to send fire upon the earth.” (On the Holy Spirit, 1.)

O God,
Who have prepared for those who love you
good things which no eye can see,
fill our hearts, we pray, with the warmth of your love,
so that, loving you in all things and above all things,
we may attain your promises,
which surpass every human desire.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen