Saint for the day: Charbel Makhlouf (May 8, 1818 – December 24, 1898)
Exodus 14:5-18 – Pslam 15 – Matthew 12:38-42
Today’s reading from Exodus is one of my favorites and it follows the story of Moses and the Burning Bush when God tells him, “I AM.”
Now the Israelites have begun their journey out of Egypt and into the Promised Land and they are up against their first hurdle: the edge of the Red Sea. And, of course, they do what all of us would (and do) do: they complain and say they would have been better off staying in Egypt as slaves rather than be our here in the desert to parish from hunger and thirst.
Then Moses, himself, shakes his fist at God for letting this happen after he had trusted that the Lord would be with them on their journey. The response of God is another one of my favorite lines in Scripture and one that I have often used in retreats and sermons: “…Have no fear; stand firm; and you will see how the lord your God will do the fighting for you. The Egyptians (or whatever enemy is after you) you will not see. The Lord will do the fighting for you. You only have to stand firm.”
Isn’t this the key to all our problems? We’re so often a “moving target” – running here and there. Chasing after this or that – it’s no wonder that God can’t help us. He can’t catch up with us. Then we also make the choice to go back forgetting the Burning Bush experience: “My name is ‘I AM’” I’m with you always. I’m not, “I WAS” or “I WILL BE” but “I AM!”
This is the moment of salvation. A “Be Here Now” moment. We can’t go back and undo what has already happened and we have no control over what will be, so all we’re left with is this “I AMness” of God.
But remember: even though God splits the Red Sea into dry land (a marvelous miracle) we’re not there yet. We still have to continue our journey to the Promised Land and there will always be more stumbling blocks along the way. Maybe if we all took Psalm 27 as our motto we’d be better off: “One think I ask of the Lord and this I seek to dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life.” Amen!