In our first reading from the book of Exodus, we hear the wonderful promise of God to Moses and his people that they would constitute a holy nation, a nation of priests. For the first Christians, this promise was fulfilled in Jesus and in the twelve apostles that he gathered round him. Peter, James, John, Thomas and their companions–with all of their faults–became the core of the renewed Israel. We the baptized are, in turn, their spiritual decendants, and we have, accordingly, the same purpose: to bring the whole human race into friendship with God.