Ex 33:7-11; 34:5-9,28; Ps 103:6-13; Mt 13:36-43
A lifetime of conversion is God’s plan for all of us. We, too, are expected to speak to God face to face, as one man speaks to another. Such is the goal and purpose of our prayer. Prayer is like that meeting tent that Moses set up outside the camp where anyone who wished to consult the Lord should come and enter. These encounters transform us, not God. We do not change the mind of God rather; we pray so that we might have the Mind of Christ, and long to do the Father’s will more than our own will. Jesus, the Lord, meets with his disciples away from the crowds and he explains to them the parable of the weeds in the field. We, too are called away from the hustle and bustle of our daily living to meet the Lord face and face and to seek an understanding of His Word. During our encounters with the Lord, here at Mass, we come to know how merciful and gracious is the Lord, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.
Like Joshua, son of Nun, we, too, are caught up in the glory and wonder of Moses talking face to face with the Lord. We don’t want to move out of our tent of meeting, the liturgy, where we speak to the Lord face to face; we want to linger at the liturgy and savor the mystery of his presence. Sometimes, we even spend a whole Lent, forty days and forty nights, without eating and drinking our own food. Indeed, we eat and drink every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. In the presence of the holy, holy, holy Lord we can’t help but recognize our wickedness handed on for generations, and we bow down and ask for mercy. We, too, seek the Lord’s company for we live among a stiff-necked people. Yet, the Lord pardons our wickedness and sins; He receives us as his own.
In this place of intimacy with the Lord Jesus we learn about the future. Not just our future, but also the future of the whole world. Indeed, the Son of Man will send his angels to gather all evildoers and those who caused others to sin into the fiery furnace. These will wail and grind their teeth. These have ears but hear not. The weeds sown by the Evil One can bring us despair and defeat, or they can be recognized for what they are in the blazing sunshine of His Glory. The future holds justice—true justice and total mercy—for this we long. In our waiting and in our longing we take refuge in prayer. In this tent of meeting we come face to face with the Lord who has taken on the face of our humanity even as he reveals the Face of God. Here, where we are so familiar, there is such gracious kindness and tender mercy. Here, the Father has compassion on his children through His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Here, the Father breathes on us the Holy Spirit and we finally begin to live in the fear of the Lord. No longer are we afraid of God, who pardons our wickedness and sins. Rather, we live in the Holy Spirit’s gift of the Fear of the Lord through we are no longer afraid of God. Here the Lord receives us, as his own, and we recognize in His Face our own transformed humanity. The glory for which we were created and toward which we journey—taking time to linger in the tent of meeting to hear his voice: “I am God and you are not.”