Tuesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
(Exodus 33:7-11.34:5b-9.28; Matthew 13:36-43)
At a funeral a woman gives a testimony about her mother. She says that as children her mother picked up her and her siblings from school every day. On most days, she continues, her mother stopped at church before going home. She wanted to visit the Blessed Sacrament. The woman says that her mother was hardly a woman who would only pray for good things. Rather she made them happen. But she also found wisdom and strength in her conversations with the Lord. Moses evidently draws the same energy in today’s first reading.
Does Moses see God face to face? The reading says that he does, even that he was accustomed to doing it. But it also says that when God passed by, Moses “at once bowed down in worship.” Elsewhere in this same section of Exodus God indicates the impossibility of a direct encounter. He tells Moses, “…you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." But the question is moot since the only human face that God has belongs to Jesus.
We have not been blessed to have seen Jesus in the flesh. Or perhaps we are blessed not to have seen him so because we might have rejected him. Nevertheless, we can find him today if we but look. He is in the marginalized person whom we might not want to meet. We will find his face reflected in quality art which moves us to speak to him. And, of course, he is there in the Eucharist in a most wholly and helpful way.