This month in the daily mass readings we hear about the story of Moses and the people of Israel who were set free from bondage and slavery in Egypt by God. We have heard this story many times and at various times during the year. If we want to know God in a deeper and more intimate way we should pick up our Bibles and read the story ourselves from the Book of Exodus. The Sunday and daily mass readings are a good place to start but even the combined Sunday and daily mass readings include only about 28% of the Bible. (71.4% of the N.T. and only 13.5% of the O.T. )
By reading the Bible we can encounter God in a deeper way, as I have. There are many ways to read the Bible, online through Formed and other websites, written Bible studies, by doing Lectio Divina to name a few. Whatever way you choose just begin somewhere. Don’t worry, you don’t need a Master’s degree in Theology, or to be a priest, a deacon or a religious. All you need is a desire to want to get to know God better. Wouldn’t we want to get to know the person that we love and have fallen in love with? And to grow deeper in that love?
God has written us a Love Letter – it is called the Bible. It is the story of how in the beginning someone loved us but we decided that we did not love Him. And the rest of the story is how He is going to get us back. This Love Letter has many twists and turns and it seems at times that we wonder if the people of Israel will ever be set free from bondage and slavery. The culmination of the story is when God takes on our own fallen humanity Himself and comes to save us.
As I read Sacred Scripture and pray and meditate on the passages, I see many of the events that happened in the Bible occur in my own life and in the world today. The times, the people and the events look different but they are essentially the same story. A broken world in need of Redemption.
During the past year and a half I have felt that I have been physically held captive by forces that have been out of my control and where I felt helpless to change anything. The only thing I could change was myself.
It has been a year since my mother passed away. In the days before she passed I decided to be there for my mother in her final days. I wasn’t there the day my father passed away the year before. So I needed to undertake her spiritual care, in order to prepare her journey home. It was to be her Exodus. God was with us every moment, not in a pillar of fire by day or in a cloud by night, but with her cross and the Lamb of God who carried it with her.
How can we measure Grace? How much does it weigh? What are its dimensions? Does it just float around in the air hoping that some of it will fall on us?
No. Grace is a person. Jesus Christ. He took on our humanity. He took on our sins. There is no other name in heaven, or on earth, or under the earth by which we can be saved.
Shortly before he died Tom Petty wrote a song called I Forgive it All. Don’t we all long to be set free from bondage? Don’t we all desire true freedom and happiness? It is possible. It is not hopeless. But God could never love me? I’m always failing. Yes but God Forgives it All. In fact he never grows tired of forgiving. There is no limit. As many times as you seek forgiveness He will grant it joyfully and completely.
Do not be afraid or discouraged with the world or with yourself. Jesus wants to free you. I have received this mercy and by being merciful to others in my own imperfect way I have found the only true freedom that I have ever known.
The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin. Exodus 34:6-7
Behold I make all things new. Revelations 21:5