Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
July 27th, 2011
Tom Purcell
Accounting Department
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Wednesday of the Seventeenth Week in Ordinary Time
[403] Exodus 34:29 – 35
Psalm 99:5, 6, 7, 9
Matthew 13:44 – 46

“His face had become radiant.” Today’s reading from Exodus offers an opportunity for contemplation by putting myself in the scene. I can picture myself as one of the people, as one of the leaders, and as Moses. When I see myself as one of the people, it is easy to relate to their fear. People don’t like to leave their comfort zone, and when Moses came down from the mountain, and glowed with the fire of the Lord in his heart, he must have seemed almost ethereal. People would naturally recoil, for they had never encountered such a presence. We fear what we do not understand, and as one of the people, I do not understand how Moses has changed.

As one of the leaders, I feel some obligation to Moses, but also to the people. He frightens them with his zeal, his words of power from the Lord. And so I have to control the situation for the good of all, and get him to veil his face so he does not cause fear and panic among the masses. It is easy to get into a mindset where as a leader I try to make decisions for the good of the people, and to protect them from what they do not (and cannot?) know.

I have difficulty feeling the inner joy, the holiness, the being, of having encountered God as Moses did on Sinai. There are times in our lives when we seem to glow with happiness and joy – when we marry, when a child or grandchild is born, when we profess religious vows, when we have career successes, or make a hole-in-one or hit a home run or score the winning goal. But to be radiant? To reflect the love of God through my entire being? To be so connected to God that people recoil from the honesty of God’s presence that I manifest in their lives? I have never felt that strongly, nor beamed with that radiance. Do I want to feel what Moses felt?

Surely Moses must have felt a sense of what the kingdom of heaven will be like. Jesus tells us how valuable it is, in practical terms that we can relate to in our earthly lives. It is worth all we have in this life – it is worth sacrificing all we have and possess in order to obtain it. As Ignatius prayed “Take, Lord, receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will. You have given all these things to me – to you O Lord, I restore them. All are yours. Dispose of them all according to your will. Give me only your love and your grace, for that is enough for me.”

There is a difficult jump from where we are and where Moses is – as Jesus reminds us, we are burdened with the things of life. If we truly value heaven, we would trade all of these things for life in the kingdom of heaven. Perhaps my difficulty in being radiant like Moses is because I am too attached to my life. The things, the people, the relationships, the power, the emotions, the sensation of living – all these are distractions from the kingdom. And so, as Ignatius reminds us, as Jesus teaches us – we need to let go to be free. We need to let go to be radiant.

And so my prayer today is for the grace to be less attached than I was yesterday to the things that are in my life, so tomorrow I can become more attached to God.

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