Scripture: Lectionary # 390. Exodus 2:1-15. Psalm 69:3.14.30-31.33-34.
Scripture has a way of nudging us forward in our own stories. We are
generously gifted in the liturgical use of the stories that show us models
of faith and love and courage. Abraham’s story teaches us how to believe
in God and form a covenant with God. Isaac is an excellent model for
listening and being obedient to God by obeying his father and carrying out
his wishes. Jacob shows us how to be creatively faithtul and daring in the
relationship with God; he even wrestles with a messenger from God! His name
Israel means the strength of God. Joseph’s saga of thirteen chapters in
Genesis showed us how to mature and take responsible positions and make
great decisions that save many peoples. And now we are entering into the
story of Moses as we have the primordial reading from Exodus chapter two
where he is introduced.
Moses will lead the people of Israel to their freedom and establish a new
way of looking at covenant commitment. He will received the “Ten Words”
from God (the commandments) and help people learn how to make the covenant
a daily practical commitment with the living God. Thus we have many Old
Testament saints who show us how to love, obey, and carry out God’s plan of
salvation. We are to become creative instruments of this salvation in our
own stories and our living at this time in history.
We are helped by these stories to appreciate what we Christians call “the
greatest story ever told” as Jesus enters the scene with his story. He
will keep teaching us to learn how to have “agape” love which is totally
selfgiving and self-effacing. This is difficult for us who live in a
culture that adores self image, individualism, and, yes, even greed.
Agape love calls us to love all of our brothers and sisters not only those
whom we naturally love or like. To do this we need to become aware of the
presence of others and not always be searching for people to admire us and
say how great we are. In today’s reading from Matthew we learn that Jesus
is very upset with the behavior patterns of people who surround him. They
refuse to have their mindset changed and are not open to conversion. It
does not look good for their future and Jesus even tells them that
non-religious cities will fare better than theirs. He uses strong language
to shock them from their self satisfaction and their sins. We too are
given this message and are stunned to realize we suffer the consequences of
our bad behavior and sinfulness. Yet, we have hope each day, for the Lord
is always there waiting for our “metanoia” or repentance and conversion.
Our thought for this reading comes from the Psalm response: “Turn to the
Lord in your need (this turning is the Hebrew word for a metanoia) and you
will live.” Amen.