Childlike Reception in Christ of God’s Self-Revelation, 15th Wednesday (I), July 19, 2017

Fr. Roger J. Landry
Visitation Convent of the Sisters of Life, Manhattan
Wednesday of the 15th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
July 19, 2017
Ex 3:1-6.9-12, Ps 103, Mt 11:25-27

 

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily: 

  • Today, after several days of focusing on the Christian mission of announcing the kingdom and the welcome or rejection the sowers will receive, our readings turn to God’s revelation of himself and the conditions are for us to receive that self-revelation and respond well to it so that we may come to grow in the personal knowledge and love of God.
  • In the first reading, God reveals himself to Moses in two ways. Tomorrow we will cover a third. The first was is in the burning bush. Moses was fascinated by the sight of a bush on fire but not being consumed by the flames, saying to himself, “I must go over to look at this remarkable sight,and see why the bush is not burned.” God reveals himself as an inexhaustible flame, someone who’s love is infinite and never-ending, someone whose fire continues undimmed without consuming and absorbing into itself the bush or reality it pervades. The second way God reveals himself is as “the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.” He is a personal God. Unlike the pagan deities who were gods of things — fire, war, the sun, eros, etc. — God reveals himself as the God of people. He seeks to enter into relationship with us. I stress often that the English language is impoverished with regard to the verb to know. In most other languages there is a distinction between knowing something or about someone and knowing something or someone intimately. It’s the distinction between sapere and conoscere in Latinsavoir and connaître in French, saber and conocer/conhecer in Spanish and PortugueseGod wants to know us with conoscere, not as an object of study, but as an intimate friend, as a Father, and when we come to know him in this day, we know him as a Father who loves us with an unquenchable burning love.
  • In the Gospel today, Jesus describes that it is the will of the Father to reveal himself to us, but Jesus puts two conditions or our receptivity to God’s self-revelation. First, God reveals himself to us in his Son, and then second, in order to receive that revelation in Jesus we need as spiritual children to enter into Jesus’ own filiation. Jesus tells us, “No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” The way we come to know God the Father and the depth of his ardent love is through Jesus’ revealing him to us. Jesus is the icon of the Father and also speaks not only of the Father but also what he hears the Father saying. His whole mission on earth was to help us establish this loving bond with the Father, teaching us by his example and explicit instructions to pray, “Our Father.” And the way we enter into that relationship with the Father is not just through spiritual childhood but entering into Jesus’ spiritual childhood. Jesus joyfully exclaims in prayer, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will!” We can’t get to know the Father as Father unless we see ourselves not just as children, but his children, and we do that in Jesus by th power of the Holy Spirit. The wise and the clever of this world try to pretend as “grown-ups,” who say, “Thanks, but I’ve got it from here,” who seek to be self-sufficient rather than dependent on the Father, who behave like the sons in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, the first of whom treats the Father as if he is as good as dead to him and no longer needed, and the second treats him more as a slave master than as a dad. To receive the revelation of the Father we need to be open like children, we need to be receptive and trusting, we need to learn from Jesus, who is not only the revelation of the Father but also the revelation of how to relate to the Father as a beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased.
  • God’s self-revelation and our receptivity and response to it come to their daily culmination at the altar. Pope Benedict is fond of quoting Origen who said about Jesus in the Eucharist, “Whoever draws near to me draws near the fire.” We draw near to the one who came to light the earth on fire, the one who burns with Passion but doesn’t consume us, the one who hopes that we’ll be the bush through which he’ll burn in the world without destroying our identity but perfecting it. This is the place in which we allow Jesus to become our God, the source, summit, root, center and simply most important reality and relationship in our life. This is the place in which God the Father reveals his Son and that Son, the icon, shows the depth of the Father’s love. And this is the means by which we get younger — going up to the altar of God who gives joy to your youth — as we recall the joy of our first Communion each time we receive the same Lord Jesus. May we recognize not only that this is holy ground but that God wants to make us his holy, burning abode!

 

 

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1 Ex 3:1-6, 9-12

Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian.
Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb,
the mountain of God.
There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in fire
flaming out of a bush.
As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush,
though on fire, was not consumed.
So Moses decided,
“I must go over to look at this remarkable sight,
and see why the bush is not burned.”
When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely,
God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
He answered, “Here I am.”
God said, “Come no nearer!
Remove the sandals from your feet,
for the place where you stand is holy ground.
I am the God of your father,” he continued,
“the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.
The cry of the children of Israel has reached me,
and I have truly noted that the Egyptians are oppressing them.
Come, now! I will send you to Pharaoh to lead my people,
the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”But Moses said to God,
“Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh
and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
He answered, “I will be with you;
and this shall be your proof that it is I who have sent you:
when you bring my people out of Egypt,
you will worship God on this very mountain.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 103:1b-2, 3-4, 6-7

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
he heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
he crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
The LORD secures justice
and the rights of all the oppressed.
He has made known his ways to Moses,
and his deeds to the children of Israel.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Alleluia See Mt 11:25

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth;
you have revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel Mt 11:25-27

At that time Jesus exclaimed:
“I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows the Son except the Father,
and no one knows the Father except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”