Ex 2:1-15; Ps 69:3,14,30-34; Mt 11:20-24
“In your great kindness answer me with your constant help.”
Most of us take God for granted and pay little attention to religion until there is a crisis in our lives. When we feel sunk and overwhelmed by suffering then we begin to pray, really pray. It seems that only affliction and pain bring to mind our need for God and his saving help. However, our God is not petty. He does not ignore our cries for help just because we have ignored Him most of our lives. Indeed as the Psalm instructs us, “you who seek God, may your hearts revive!” Our hearts are lifted when we admit that we are downcast and needy, “for the LORD hears the poor, and his own who are in bonds he spurns not.” The compassion of God is stirred up by the slavery of his people. It is the seemingly innocent moment of pity in the heart of Pharaoh’s daughter that reveals God’s response to the cries of the poor slaves. Her seemingly insignificant response to the cries of the Hebrew boy sets into motion God’s saving action. Even the compassion of an oppressor is a tool in the hands of the Lord of History. The Lord Jesus holds not back when he uses the wicked cities of history to challenge the unrepentant of his day. If they had seen the signs and wonders that you have been privileged to witness, they would have repented. Clearly, the Lord Jesus is not trying to win friends and play to the crowd. Still this reproach is painful to our ears, because of our own lack of repentance.
The powerless one drawn up out of the water by the powerful princess begins to recognize his identity. The waters out of which he is drawn are not those of the Nile, rather, Moses arises from the flood of tears shed by so many slave mothers over the years. The Lord does not ignore the cries of the poor. As Moses becomes an adult, he learns about the injustice that oppresses him and his brothers. The slaves have taken on the violence of their captors. They treat one another the same way they have been treated for generations. The irony of his accuser cannot be ignored. “Who has appointed you ruler and judge over us?” Indeed, it is the Lord God who has chosen Moses to lead his chosen people. This rebellion against God and Moses is a theme repeated all through Exodus. The people are slow to accept the Lord and His Law given through Moses. They would rather deal with one another as they have been treated. This attitude has survived the centuries and nurtures our complacency even today.
All through his ministry the Lord Jesus uses his power to reveal that the truth of God’s love is the real power that controls the universe. As the New Moses, the Lord Jesus, has come to teach and to reveal by his dying and rising the new law of love. It matters little that we have ignored the Lord for centuries now and continue to treat one another as if He never came and set us free. The mighty deeds of salvation in the ministry of the Lord Jesus continue in the ministry of the His Body, the Church. By our baptism each one of us has been drawn up out of the waters of death and given the living waters of the Holy Spirit. By this mighty deed Our Father has made us a new creation. We renew this covenant here at the Eucharist. Here we admit our helpless poverty. Our hearts are revived by the mercy and kindness of the Lord who hears the cries of the poor. Because of our new identity in Christ we live lives full of joy and peace. This great sign is a painful summons to all who still ignore the freedom of the children of God. Our very lives are a call to repentance. We are the mighty deed of salvation God uses to summon those whom he loves.