April 4, 2019
Exodus 32: 7-14
In this first passage, I am struck how brave (or foolish…take your pick) Moses is in imploring, begging and pleading with God not to wipe out the Israelites for creating a false god in a golden calf. Wow! God could have ignored Moses, struck him down to silence or even to death! But He didn’t. God
to Moses who at that moment had the whole future fate of the Israelites at stake. Fortunately, Moses convinced God to change His mind and the Israelites were saved. My, how history would’ve changed if God followed His anger instead of His reason!
John 5: 31-47
In the second passage, Jesus, like God in the first passage, sounds perturbed at the Israelites although not to the same degree that God had with the Jewish nation in the Sinai Desert in the first passage. Still, Jesus vents His frustration with those who are hearing His voice that they are not true believers. Instead they simply are going through the motions pretending to live as Jesus is teaching. Jesus ultimately becomes more merciful and forgiving in His tone but He also continues to chastise those non- and semi-believers that their faith needs to be something more than their human condition.
Both of these passages, in my mind, are examples of God and Jesus “setting the bar” to salvation and to a true life of faith higher than what we as mere mortals can reach on our own. We need help to reach that bar from examples like Moses, the saints, the prophets and from each other in today’s world to get where God and Jesus want and need us to go. We need prayer as spiritual nourishment, we need acts of love, charity and kindness for confidence and growth, we need fewer distractions and more discernment if we are ever to reach that bar. Lent is a good time to remember and focus on these things.
St. Anthony Church Parishioner