Mediating God’s Message of Life and Love
Today’s reading from Exodus is truly extraordinary: Moses humbly stands before an irate God to intercede for the rebellious and ungrateful Israelites. God was angry! The Israelites had created and were worshipping a molten calf; God was ready to “disown” the people, and even destroy the “stiff-necked” people. Moses was called upon to mediate the delicate situation. Ultimately, God relented in the punishment He had threatened. Hmnnn…
The Gospel selection presents a similar situation. Jesus is speaking with the Jewish leaders, trying to help the people get the bigger picture of His Life and Mission – to encourage belief in Him and His mission of enfleshing God’s redemptive love for all people of all time. Their minds and hearts were closed, they were not listening. Jesus has strong, direct words with his audience: “…you do not have the love of God in you.” And yet He didn’t give up…He continued His journey which led to further teaching and miracles, to suffering and Calvary – and ultimately Easter. Yes!!
Lent is a time for us to again address our rebellion, our ingratitude, our “worship” of power / money / prestige / technology – our lack of fidelity as members of God’s family. In today’s readings, with great feeling both Moses and Jesus address us and challenge us to wake up, to turn away from selfishness and sin, to believe and to love selflessly. Both Moses and Jesus don’t give up on their people – and us!
As we move into the “2nd half” of our 2019 Lenten journeys, may we continue to further open our hearts to the transforming, enriching, salvific love offered us in Jesus’ Life, His Passion and Death, His Rising to Life. As the Entrance Antiphon for today’s Eucharist states (from Psalm 105): “Let the hearts that seek the Lord rejoice; turn to the Lord and his strength; constantly seek God’s face.”
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is a member of the Passionist community in Chicago, Illinois.