Liturgical readings are available here.
While Moses is staying on Mount Sinai, people down below the mountain make a golden calf. God’s judgment is very severe: Let me alone, that my wrath may blaze up against them to consume them. Then I will make of you a great nation. This is an unknown aspect of God: why would God want to destroy people whom he has saved from Egypt?
Rather than wondering about God, however, we should wonder about Moses. He receives this unprecedented offer: God wants to make him into a great nation. Who ever would turn such an offer down? Moses clearly is under stress. He must be feeling heavy burden of leadership, pressure from all sides, and uncertainty regarding the future. It is under stress that characters are tested and revealed.
Moses stands the test, puts the needs of the people before his own ambitions and opportunities, and intercedes for the people, praying: Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, and how you swore to them by your own self, saying, ‘I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky; and all this land that I promised, I will give your descendants as their perpetual heritage.
The hardships of life and the pressure of these days put us in spotlight. The characters are revealed. What is the leading power in my life: my selfishness, or love for God and for the neighbor?