Divine Dialogue of God with the Soul
This weekend we have for our first reading at Holy Mass the story of Moses and the burning bush, which is a figure of God. This appears to be Moses’ first encounter with God. Here’s the story in a nutshell: long ago, the Jewish boy Joseph (not our St. Joseph) had been sold into slavery in Egypt by his brothers. Later the entire Jewish nation moved to Egypt, where, unfortunately, they eventually all become slaves of Pharaoh. Moses was born of a Jewish woman during that exile in Egypt, but was adopted by the daughter of Pharaoh and grew up in Pharaoh’s [pagan] court. He knew very little about his own Jewish ancestry, and today’s reading shows us the moment when God revealed Himself to Moses—in this bush that was burning but was not consumed. The reading says “When the Lord saw him coming over to look at [the bush] more closely, God called out to him from the bush, ‘Moses! Moses!’” (Exodus 3:1-15). Before long, God would tell Moses His name!
It sounds as though God was pleased by Moses’ small attempt to discover the mystery of the burning bush, and He rewarded Moses by beginning a relationship with him that would result in God using Moses to deliver His people out of Egypt. It makes me realize that God asks very little of us before he invites us into a closeness with Him. Our relationship with God can begin with a simple reaching out to see what God looks like, as Moses did: I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned. In Moses’ case, he was rewarded with an intimacy with God that has been the model of friendship with God ever since. For us, it can be just as incredible and beautiful.
This should give us hope for a loved one who has fallen away from the Church, or even seemingly from God. The smallest step one takes, even a simple curiosity about God, can be enough to lead to a complete conversion. It also reminds us that our own sinfulness should never be a barrier to our renewed friendship with Him if we are willing to take a risk in trusting Him to receive us home again.
This reading is the beginning of the Exodus story in Salvation History, culminating in the Mystery of the death and resurrection of Jesus which we will celebrate in a few weeks. For the remainder of Lent we will be reading about the growing animosity of the religious leaders of the time toward Jesus, and the gathering clouds will darken as time goes on. But through it all we will be reminded of the mercy of God, of His hope for sinners to return to Him and of the lengths to which Jesus will go to save His lost sheep. From the burning bush to the lost sheep seems like a crooked, rocky road, but it will be the reality of the immeasurable love of God for each one of us. Are you thinking about going to confession before Easter but feel anxious because it’s been a long time? Are you wondering about how to begin your return to God? Do you wish you knew Him better? Do you find it hard to recognize Him in the day-to-day hum drum of your life? Think of Moses. He saw something mysterious, and something in his heart told him it was worth looking into. That burning Bush was, in fact, the revelation of God to the soul of Moses.
What will be your burning bush? And mine?
God bless you.
Image URL: https://pixabay.com/photos/crosses-sunset-silhouettes-dusk-671379/