Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
We see in today’s readings an ebb and flow of relationships. In Exodus, we see the Lord disown the Israelites, when he says to Moses, “Go down to your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt…” Moses was only God’s chosen spokesman. He didn’t bring anyone out of Egypt; God brought the ten plagues, parted the Red Sea, and led the people by pillars of fire and smoke. But the Lord has been rejected by the people, and accepts that rejection by assigning them to Moses. But Moses dares to correct the Lord, responding, “Why should wrath blaze up against your own people?”
Take a moment to consider some of the more amazing events of your life. Recall any big accomplishments, turning points, or times when your heart changed. Who did that? Was it God? Was it you? What about the history of your people, or the melting pot of the American people. Do we believe we belong to God, or only to ourselves, or one another? It’s so very easy to believe that my hard work, my good decisions, my intelligence has brought me to the place I am today. We often disclaim the Spirit’s work in our lives by making idols out of our personal and collective history. But today’s readings speak to the truth of the Universe: “In Him we live and move and have our being.” God is the power behind all the goodness in your life. The level of prosperity, peace, and justice we enjoy as a society is directly related to how well we allow the Spirit of Love to inform our social lives, our work, and our politics. “We plant the seed, but God grants the increase of the harvest.”
Despite living through the most miraculous liberation in history, Israel quickly forgot who was responsible for their Salvation. They failed to remember and recognize God’s continuing work in them. In the same way, we see Jesus in today’s Gospel challenging the religious leaders of his day to recognize the work of the Lord. Jesus, the Son of God, is has to argue with the ‘holy men’ of the time to listen to His word! If the leaders of the faith are confused, it’s because they believe in their knowledge more than they believe in God’s ongoing power to act. Even today, the Spirit was moving in unexpected ways to bring peace to our broken world.
Let us recognize who is at work, and whose people we are. May God be loved and glorified, not us or our leaders. May we see our lives not as the result of our own decisions, but the result of God’s continuous attempts to gather the chosen people. Amen.