Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Ex 3:13-20; Ps 105:1-7,24-27; Mt 11:28-30

“This is my name forever; this is my title for all generations.”

The Psalm summons us to give thanks and to invoke the Name.  At every Mass the priest invites us to give thanks and he recalls for us the wondrous deeds of the Lord.  In the preface of the Eucharistic Prayer we hear about the faithfulness of God to his covenant, and this is always reason to give thanks.  In today’s first reading from Exodus the Lord reveals his name, his title for all generations.  “I am who am.”  Moses hears what no man has ever heard.  This is the revelation of the mystery hidden from ages past.  In human language to call someone by name gets their attention, but this God who reveals himself already is always attentive to the misery of his people.  They do not need to control God; rather they need to surrender to his lordship.  To speak the unspeakable name is a privilege given to those who take off their sandals and stand in the fire of his transforming love.  The Lord Jesus reveals his name in today’s gospel, “I am meek and humble of heart.”  We need not be afraid of the Lord who reveals his name.  He is forever meek and his title for all generations is humble of heart.

The voice of the Lord from the burning bush summons Moses to a new identity even as it reveals the true identity of God.  The Holy and Eternal One is always attentive and responsive to those who give thanks and invoke the Name.  The painful part of this burning encounter is that Moses will be called by a new name.  In response to the call of the Great I Am, Moses will become the powerful voice of God and the voice of the powerless slaves.  He will stand up for those who have no voice and ask for a three day’s journey into the desert that they may offer sacrifice to the Lord God.  Because Pharaoh hears only what he wants to hear, he will resist the command of God and bring down upon himself and his nation all kinds of wondrous deeds.  The Lord God will stretch out his hand over Egypt and make it clear that no nation and no other gods have power to enslave his people.  It is useless to resist; they will be glad to set his people free.  The king and his people will send them away in a futile effort to free themselves from the hand of the Lord.  This promise of God inspires Moses and the elders of Israel to stand up and confront their oppressor with the power of Lord who hears the cries of the powerless.

We who labor and are burdened with the cares of the world and the limitations of our strength are called to rest in Christ, the New Moses and definitive liberator.  All we need to do is to take up the yoke of the cross of Christ.  This yoke is easy and the burden of our salvation is light because the Lord Jesus himself carries it with us.  Just as Moses was given the staff of power to reveal God’s purpose to Egypt, so too, we are given the power of the cross to reveal God’s purpose to all those who enslave us.  The world, the flesh, and the devil are no match for the yoke of Christ.  Indeed, we can rest secure only in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  “We adore you Oh Christ, and we praise you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!”