Thursday, July 18, 2019

Thursday of the Fifteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Exodus 3:13-20; Matthew 11:28-30)

Most people these days prefer being on a “first name basis” with everyone.  Perhaps some seniors are jarred when telephone sales reps use their first names as if they played cards together.  But the younger generation generally finds such familiarity unremarkable.  For this reason some may have a hard time understanding the concession God is granting to Moses in today’s first reading.  When He reveals His name, “I am who am,” He is inviting interruption.  It is as if God’s were giving out cell number.  Now Moses and the Israelites can call to Him for assistance at any time.

By revealing His name, God is showing how much He cares about Israel.  In the Old Testament He focuses attention on the small nation.  But it is only an initial step in a larger plan.  Through Israel God will bring the whole human race together.  For a while, Israel seemed incapable of minding God’s ways. Eventually, however, one of its members will obediently carry out God’s purpose.  This one, of course, is Jesus, the son of Mary.

It is said that “I am who am” reveals the essence of God, i.e., the source of all being.  Jesus will show beyond any doubt that being is not a passive or indifferent at its source.  To the contrary, it is both active and compassionate.  Through Jesus God will break down the stubbornness and hatred that keep humans from Him and from one another.  In Jesus God will reach out to all – especially the lowliest of people -- to make them one with Him.