I suspect that many of us have met someone famous during our lives. Was it a famous sports figure? A movie star? A rock star? The list of categories could go on. But my question is this. What was your reaction when the meeting took place? Shock? Surprise? Embarrassment? I think the reaction reflects the nature of the encounter.
In the first of today’s readings (Exodus 3:1-15) Moses meets God! Now, that’s somebody famous. His reaction was one of surprise, fear, acquiescence, and willingness–one feeling after another in an almost simultaneous fashion. He was “surprised” at seeing an unconsumed burning bush; “fearful” at being told to take his sandals off so close to a burning fire; “acquiescence” in that the deity was known to his ancestors (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob), therefore possibly known to him as well.
But this series of reactions led to the most important reaction of all, namely, the “willingness” to fulfill the mission that God had for him. But before the mission could be effectively completed, two things were necessary: the self-revelation of the deity and the purpose of the mission.
First of all, the deity’s self-revelation was important. Moses had to know who was sending him and why. God identified himself as YHWH (translated as “I will be who I will be”). Most likely, this name could have been tied in with the notion of divine accompaniment, which was a key theological concept for Israel. A small, insignificant people needed the presence of a deity for support and encouragement.
Secondly, the purpose of the mission was liberation of the people Israel who were slaves in Egypt. The liberation occurred because of the ten plagues, the crossing dryshod across the sea, and the mutual covenant at Sinai (“IF you keep my commandments, (THEN) I will be your God.
How can this reading touch us directly? First, God can reveal himself anyway he wants. We have to determine how it is done. Through marginalized people? In situations of injustice? I suspect that surprise and fear could probably be aspects of the divine self revelation. How can we know that God is with us for giving support and encouragement?
Secondly, our Baptism is the initial self-revelation of God when we are also given the responsibilities to be of service to others. As long as we maintain the responsibilities of Baptism, namely, to realize that God is with us, and constantly accept the challenge to liberate others from the slavery of injustice, the relationship of meeting someone famous (God) is constantly present–and developing.
But this series of reactions led u