Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15; Ps 103:1-4, 6-8, 10f; Luke 13:1-9
On the occasion of Moses’ call to liberate his people from Egyptian bondage, God also chose to reveal His Name, "I am who am." There is much to ponder in these two elements. What does the Holy Spirit wish to show us? Moses had an excellent education as an Egyptian prince, but not a Jewish upbringing. He was then hiding in the desert after killing an Egyptian. Not a likely candidate for such a great job of moving the Jews to God’s promised land.
Then there was the "burning bush." Do you have one in your back yard? You do in your local parish church and in every church throughout the world with the real presence of Christ in the tabernacle. How often do we go there to see the ongoing miracle and be radiated with the love and power of God for us? God is waiting for us to draw nearer to Him. Yet taking off our shoes means, as Lent reminds us, to get rid of unholy and worldly things that take our time and attention from God.
Then God gave Moses His Name, "I am who am." God created all the animate and inanimate matter physical and spiritual. In our science we may change or rearrange what God first created. Added to all creation, you might say God is the glue or energy that keeps all things in existence. Since Moses didn’t know much about his Jewish roots, he asks God what Name was he to tell the Israelites about their liberation. God replied: "I am who am." This is one of the great moments of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Being chosen by God is not synonymous with obtaining salvation, that is eternal life with God forever in heaven, as St. Paul’s reading tells us today. Our election calls for a continuing response, an ongoing conversion. In St. Luke’s gospel, Jesus reminds us that there is a day of reckoning for us all. That will be a short time after our soul leaves our earthly body, we will meet the glorious and loving presence of Jesus Christ for our personal judgment.
So I see three points that face us this weekend.
1) God’s presence in our lives and how much time can we spend with Him.
2) God reveals Himself to us as He did to Moses. He is the all-powerful creator and sustainer of all. What is His plan for our short time here on earth? We may not feel prepared for the task but God is calling us to help Him transform our "culture of death." We do that in small and great ways.
3) If we are serious about going to heaven we all face an ongoing conversion from the negative things in and around us to living a transformed life in Christ, as St. Paul says in Romans 12:2; "be transformed by the renewal of your minds." This renewal is a continuous process. Our minds have been programmed by the culture of the world. We need reprogrammed by God’s Words to us in scripture and His Church. Jesus, I want to get rid of the junk in my life so I can behold Your burning presence in my daily life. Then I want to help many others come to meet You so they can help us in Your process to get to heaven.
This week Catholics all over the world are witnessing the choosing of a new Chief Shepherd in Rome. Let us pray for that man who is God’s chosen one to lead us in the next several years. This is an unbroken process since the time Jesus left us on earth. Let us pray for all the workers in the Vatican and the city of Rome who participate in this process. Let us pray for the cardinals to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit clearly. Let us pray for our new Holy Father who in a sense is the chosen Moses for us today. Have a blessed and more prayerful week as we watch this great moment in world history. + Fr. Bob Hilz.