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Thursday of the Sixteenth Week of the Year

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


 
Ex 19:1,2,9-11,16-20; Dan 3:52-56; Mt 13:10-17
“Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear.”

The earliest divine human encounters are full of smoke, fire, thunder and lightening—and all this on the mountaintop. Into this frightening place only Moses was invited, and in the camp the people trembled. The Lord Jesus shares the knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of heaven with his disciples and with the crowds he shares a glimpse of these mysteries in the parables. The Lord Jesus brings the mountaintop experience of the first Moses into our lives. Sometimes all we can do is shake our heads in wonder at the mysteries revealed in the parables—still we tremble with awe. We often feel more comfortable if the mysteries are a little more removed from our everyday lives. Then we have a good excuse for not getting any closer to the word and to the Incarnate Word.

After the painful doubts and curses from the people at the shore of the Red Sea, Moses can only be delighted with the plan of God to come in a dense cloud. Those hesitant former slaves would hear the thunderous voice of the Lord God, and perhaps they would have faith in God and in Moses. The people will see the lightning and the dense cloud; they will feel the whole mountain tremble violently; they will hear the trumpet of thunder grow louder and louder, and that will be enough for them. Moses on the other hand will be expected to come closer. Perhaps the most fearful sentence in this reading is at the end: “When the LORD came down to the top of Mount Sinai, he summoned Moses to the top of the mountain.” With Daniel we cry out blessed are you--praiseworthy and glorious forever! We are grateful that God reveals himself to our ancestors and to us, but like them we prefer the Lord to maintain his distance. We are brought far beyond our comfort zone by the incarnation of the Son of God. Not only does God touch the mountains and wreath them in smoke, He also touches the virginal womb of Blessed Mary and enters into our human frailty. This is all together unexpected and even unwanted. For God to take on our weakness changes everything. No longer can we misuse our frailty as an excuse for not growing. Now, it is in our weakness that we are strong, and in his wounds that we find healing.

Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in all of us who hear but disagree, look but ignore; our hearts are gross and we have no room for the mystery of the Kingdom of heaven. Isaiah first made this prophecy over a people who were on the verge of exile. The consequences of blinded eyes and hardened hearts were to waste away under the captivity of those who do not know God. The Lord Jesus wants to abide in our midst and heal our infirmities. Such intimacy fulfills the very compassion of the Father. Such closeness unites us in the Holy Spirit. All of this conversion and healing is all-together too much. Perhaps even the transforming power of this Holy Communion is all-together too much. We are called by the New Moses, Jesus the Christ, to meet him on the mountaintop of this liturgy and that may cause a little trembling.

 

 

 

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