Encountering God

Exodus 3:1-8a, 13-15; I Cor. 10:1-6. 10-12; and Luke 13: 1-9.

Almost halfway through Lent how is everyone doing? I hope this season is giving us a reason to find extra time for reflection and prayer as well as motivation to reach out to the poor.

Today’s first reading is from the Book of Exodus and I am sure that it is familiar;  it is the story of Moses and the Burning Bush. Some may dismiss this immediately as too far-fetched and unable to be ‘historically verifiable’. Indeed this story cannot be seen as modern history (which focuses on details, dates and physical evidence) but that does not mean it is meaningless. In fact Moses’s encounter with the Burning Bush is more important than modern histories as it points to an encounter Moses had with God and tells us much about our own life. 

The story begins, you will remember, with Moses doing his normal daily task of herding a flock when suddenly a bush bursts into flame and talks to him (I hope Moses had had his first cup of coffee??). Talk about getting your attention and it clearly got Moses’. Moses at least had the presence of mind to ask who was talking to him and the rather cryptic answer was “I Am who Am!” Now such a reply may seem jibberish but is far from it. Yahweh is telling Moses that he is speaking as God and not just one among many deities but the ONE from whom all existence flows. Yahweh does not give Moses a personal name, which seems odd for us, because in the ancient world to have a person’s name was to have a power over that person (thus Yahweh cannot be controlled by another!) Moses encountered the God above all gods, the One.

So what is the big deal you might say as everyone has heard this story? The big deal is that it reminds us that God is not a passive bystander to life but engages people, calls us even in the day to day routines of life. We can experience God anywhere and at any time even most unexpectedly; it is at God’s choice not ours as we cannot conjure up God (we have no more power over God than Moses had!). So during this time of Lent do we realize that our daily life with routines, joys, tediousness and silent sufferings can be a place for encountering God? Our encounters will probably not be as dramatic as Moses’ but God can be there in the cries of a baby, the words of a co-worker, the panhandler on the street or during our work. God is there if only we would listen. Perhaps today we can take some time  to reflect how to be more aware of the God who is amongst us and prepare for Him by infusing even the humdrum activities of daily life with love in order to await God’s.

Let us not forget those who experience God in service to God’s poor as we pray and financially support the Mission Doctors Association.

Brother John Kiesler, OFM

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