The Third Sunday of Lent: Facing God Again
by Victor Hoagland, C.P.
Meditations and Prayers for the Third Week of Lent Cycle "C"
Exodus 3: 1-8a,13-15; I Corinthians 10: 1-6; 10-12; Luke 13: 1-9
Moses, one of the great figures of the bible, seems to live in two worlds. He’s fiercely dedicated to the task of freeing his people from the grasp of the Egyptians and bringing them to freedom in a promised land. He’s also drawn into mysterious familiarity with God, as our reading today reveals.
After killing an Egyptian who was persecuting the Israelites, Moses flees to the desolate Sinai Peninsula to hide among a desert tribe, tending their flock of sheep. Then, one day on the lonely slopes of Mount Horeb he spies a bush that seems on fire but not burnt. As he draws near, God call his name, “Moses, Moses!”
It is the God of holy ground who speaks to him, the all-powerful creator of heaven and earth. No human can approach the Holy One as equal, so Moses hides his face and takes off his shoes.
Yet, God’s words are tender and full of surprising promises. “I am the God of your fathers. I have heard my people’s complaints and seen their sufferings. I will rescue them and lead them to a good and spacious land, a land of milk and honey.”
On this holy mountain, lively with the divine presence, Moses experiences God’s immense love and returns to the hard task of freeing God’s people.
Is Lent our time to face God again, to hear God call our name, to listen to the timeless promises once more?
Whenever you call our name, O Lord, you call us as we are:
fearful in a dangerous world,
hiding in our inadequacies,
surrounding ourselves with comforts we create.
How can we know you
unless you speak to us too?
You spoke on Horeb from a burning bush;
now you point to your Divine Son on a Cross:
“Listen to him!”
Bow down and take off your shoes.
Illustration: detail from illustration by Gerard Horenbout in a Book of Hours of the Virgin, c. 1500