Godzdogz

Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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God’s eternal presence

Sunday, March 11, 2007
Sunday 3 of Lent

Readings: Exodus 3:1-8, 13-15; Psalm 102; 1 Corinthians 10:1-6, 10-12; Luke 13:1-9

Moses was shepherding his father-in-law’s flock… Moses saw the burning bush… Moses saw and turned aside and covered his face, ‘for he feared to look at God’. These are epoch-making actions, defining moments and past events: they have already taken place. For the people of Israel, the Exodus, begun at this encounter with God on Sinai, is part of a history that identifies their very nature.

When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the ordinances which the LORD our God has commanded you?’ then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt; and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand’ (Deut. 6.21-22).

This identity is handed on through the passing generations; over the years. Who are we? We are the people God saved and brought to the promised land.

This identity with history is a feature of human life. What I mean is that every experience we have in the world, even daily sensations, follows the event. All too quickly a moment, an action, a feeling becomes a past event. Time chases away our existence. We live in the past.

But let’s go back to that mountain in the Middle East and Moses covering his face before the bush that burns.

The LORD sends him to bring the people out of slavery; to bring them into the present. And Moses asks fundamentally important questions in the face of this event. Who am I? Who are you?

Moses roots his identity in the past: his being drawn from the Nile; his crime; his flight from Egypt and his people. ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?’ (Ex. 3.11). This is why he argues with God.

God’s eternal identity breaks into the time-bound world of Moses: I am who I am. There is no time from which God draws his identity. No time when God is waiting to act or lamenting what has passed. There is precisely no time at all. God’s care for his people, his patient love with the sinner, is eternal.

So, if we have failed so far this Lent, in penance, we should not despair. Turn back to God; turn towards the present. We may bear fruit next year.

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