The first reading for this Sunday comes from the Book of Exodus and is the account of Moses discovering God in a burning bush. It is an incredible image. Moses notices that a bush is burning and yet is not being consumed. Flames blaze and yet the bush is not destroyed. So, Moses discovers the God who cannot be consumed by fire. He discovers that God is the God of life, not death. And this God has something to tell Moses. The God of the burning bush reveals to Moses that God is the one who has heard the cries of a people living in slavery and oppression. God is the one whose heart goes out to those who live under oppression and servitude and who will lead them to freedom and plenty. The story of Moses from that time on will be the story of the one who is to hold before the people this covenant that God has made to free them and accompany them along the way.
As we travel the journey of Lent we are reminded that the same God who appeared to Moses in the burning bush is the one who continues to walk with humanity today and longs for freedom from whatever enslaves and diminishes human beings in any way. “By this name I shall be invoked for all generations to come” (Exodus 3:15).
We have reached the midpoint of Lent. And now is the time to turn to the God who cannot be consumed by the blazing fire. Now is the time to turn to the God whose heart still yearns for freedom, from oppression of all who are fleeing violence and war. Now is the time to turn to God and call for an end to racism, sexism, ageism and all that prevents and perverts human beings from living life to the full in the presence of God. Now is the time to ask that same God to come and visit us again and do for us what God has done in the past.
The psalm for this Sunday proclaims: “The Lord is compassion and love” (Psalm 102). We should pray that the Lord create us in that same image and likeness. We could make the last verse of the psalm our own prayer today: “The Lord is compassion and love, slow to anger and rich in mercy. For as the heavens are high above the earth so strong is his love for humanity.” Make us compassionate and loving O God. Give us hearts that are slow to anger and rich in mercy. Make our love for humanity equal to your own love for each of us.
By Fr Brendan Reed