Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Exodus 3:13-20; Matthew 11:28-30)
“Call me whatever you like,” people used to kid, “just don’t call me late for dinner.” Did they really mean that? Is it all right to be called anything whatsoever as long as one has three squares a day? The first reading today indicates something different.
When Moses asks God for a name, God responds enigmatically. It is not easy to interpret what “I am who am” means. Some philologists find the term a way to conceal one’s identity. For them it means “I am what I am (and that’s enough for you to know).” They understand God as saying that He is a mystery who remains beyond human comprehension. Others find the term more revelatory. They would say that God is declaring Himself to have all Being as His essence. For them God is the source and horizon of all that is.
In any case the purpose of God giving His name here is to tell the people of Israel that He is on call to help them. They now know where to look when troubles pile up. In time God will come even closer to His people. He will present Himself in the person of Jesus Christ. Perhaps today’s gospel passage indicates God’s readiness to help us as well as any. Jesus invites us to go to him when we find life burdensome. He assures us that we will find our relief in him.