- The Abbey of the Genesee - http://www.geneseeabbey.org -

August 1, 2017

Fr. Justin Sheehan, OCSO [1]

17th Tuesday in Ordinary Time

There is something mysterious about the Word of God. The Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as one man speaks to another, and then Moses would speak to the people, but then he would put a veil over his face. There is something dark and hidden, something veiled, about the Word of God. In the Gospel, too, Jesus speaks to us in parables that are somewhat ambiguous; there is something veiled about their meaning. Why is this? Why doesn’t God speak more plainly?

Here may be one of the more mysterious laws of the meeting between God and human beings. God needs to veil the meaning of his Word because he has a need to love, a need to become the best Friend of each of us. If he didn’t veil his Word, it would no longer be the Word of God: it would just be one text message among many, a communication which we could receive without changing our lives, without conversion. If the Word of God were reduced to information, it would no longer respect our free will, it would not invite a loving response.

But God’s Word is both revelation and the gift of Someone whom we can receive only with love. In an interview he did when he was a Cardinal, Pope Francis said that “This is the kerygma, the message of Christ, which causes astonishment and leads to contemplation.” The disciples of Jesus sensed that instinctively, because when Jesus went into the house, his disciples approached him and said, “Explain to us the parable”. And yet by the time of the Last Supper, Jesus no longer spoke to them in parables because they were no longer servants, but friends. Moses too would leave behind the people of Israel and go up the mountain to speak with the Lord.

Our own friendship with God cannot grow unless we set apart some time just for him in all the occupations of our day. Even if we spend this time just being silent, we can offer that to God as a gift, and our silence can become the language of friendship. Christ himself had a very active public ministry, but because he valued his unique friendship with the Father, he made time for prayer, and managed to spend hours with God in silence. If our times of solitude are really going to be filled with God, the best way to prepare is to live the Christian life wholly and entirely and to the full. Acting like a friend of God leads to a mutual exchange of love in our time of silence with him, and it is in this exchange that God takes away the veil and reveals himself. And there is always something more to be revealed, something more to love in God, and the human lifespan is not long enough for that. But God will never forsake his friends. Their life takes on a wideness which is measureless, and becomes eternal life with God, our savior and our friend.