In the first reading from last Thursday, Moses is conversing with God on the top of Mount Sinai when God’s people, delivered from slavery and saved from death multiple times, erect a golden calf and start to worship it. In response to this idolatry, God wants to wipe them out. Moses, however, intercedes and gets God to turn back His destructive wrath.
For a bit more context, we can read earlier in Exodus to know that Moses has been on the top of the mountain for some time. This is when Moses receives the ten commandments after which God offers more in-depth instructions about the prescriptions of the law. Scripture scholars believe that Moses stayed on the top of the mountain for 40 days, enough time for the Israelites to grow weary of waiting, and to want to put a face and shape to this God who had delivered them. Culturally, this is what they knew to do. Aaron, at the people’s urging, solicits all of their gold, melts it and forms it into this idol. He then declares a festival to the “Lord”.
In the responsorial psalm we hear that the people “exchanged their glory for the image of a grass eating bullock” and that “they forgot the God who saved them, who had done great deeds in Egypt.”
They had fallen short of their call as God’s chosen people. They had forgotten that they were to be protagonists in history.
How often do we fall into this trap? Weary of the work, impatient for God to move, how easily do we despair? How often do we forget the good things that God has done for us, that He has been faithful before and that He will be faithful again?
But, just as Moses pleads to God for mercy, inviting God to remember the good deeds done to save His people, we, too, must remember that we are children of God. We must believe that the Holy Spirit courses through our veins in no smaller measure than any of the saints. Whereas Moses was privileged to converse with God and see His back, we have the living God inside of us!
We need to remember.
Jesus warns us in last Thursday's Gospel, “You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf. But you do not want to come to me to have life.” Let us not forget or fail to realize that all the scriptures pointed to Him! Let us listen to His words, and recognize His ongoing presence in our world.
We must remember that He has called us to a relationship, an encounter, a covenant. He does not a desire a contract.
We must remember that we are God’s, created for a specific purpose, called to bring Him honor, glory and majesty.
Change, conflict, relativism, and bleak prospects for the future, cause us and others to despair. The burden of daily life overwhelms us.
In these times, though, we must remember that we are His chosen people, that He has been faithful before and will be faithful again, that He desires mercy, not sacrifice, our hearts, not just our heads and hands.
We must remember that we are His protagonists, called to advocate and fight for others, and in doing so calling them to this same remembrance: we are His.
We must remember...