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

Homily: July 14, 2015

Fr. Gerard D’Souza, OCSO [1]

15th Tuesday in Ordinary Time

The question that tugs at each one of us after we have passed through a particularly difficult time and have emerged alive from it is the what if question? What if that had gone wrong, where would I have been today? Reading the story of Moses, we forget the – what if questions. We breeze through the happy ending as if we could predict it, as if it is obvious that there would be a happy ending.

But is that so obvious. Usually in pagan myth, the hero is born and his birth is attended by angels assuring protection. But nothing of this sort is the case with Moses. What if the basket had overturned in the river? Or hit a log? Or the famous crocodiles of the Nile found the little baby boy a tasty pre-dinner snack? What if? Unlike pagan mythology, there are no spectacular divine interventions, heavenly bells and whistles to assure us that nothing will happen to him? In the end his life depends not on angels but on three women who do what is right. But it could just as easily, humanly speaking, gone terribly wrong. There was no guarantee at all. We have the advantage of knowing how the story ended but his mother has no idea, nor his sister. And in the middle of all this uncertainty God’s mercy was protecting him. God had a plan for Moses and He would make sure this plan came about. But you could not tell it in advance. You had to suffer the feeling of risk and danger.

I think for us, this is an important teaching. Just because I am faithful. I pray. I do good things does not mean I can twist God’s arm and guarantee that bad things will not happen to me, that the roof will not suddenly cave in on me, that I will be safe, always have plenty of security. There is no assurance that this might happen. There is no connection of cause and effect between being a good and being rewarded. The only assurance I have is that God has a plan for me and no matter what, no matter how bad the circumstances, His plan for me will not be frustrated. This is the only guarantee I can have.