Saint for the day: Lawrence of Brindisi (July 22, 1559 – July 22, 1619
Exodus 11:10-12:14 – Psalm 116 – Matthew 12:1-8
In the first place we can only know and love God from where we are and this puts us back to yesterday’s Exodus reading of Moses and the Burning Bush: “I Am” is my name. Not, “I Was” or “I Will Be” but “I Am” I am your God right here and now. Right here in this moment whether that’s a moment of frustration or jubilation. We are once again forced to perceive God’s action in our lives as taking place in this one moment of salvation.
And today’s Gospel supports this notion when Jesus says, “It’s not the keeping of laws that make you acceptable in my sight but, rather, the example of mercy – which you need to both give and receive.” God never directly promises us that in following him we will forever live on “Easy Street” but rather we will need to embrace a cross – of some sort or other – all along the way and Jesus promises that he will be with us. Yoked beside us in a fashion that is easy and sweet and pulls more than his share of the load.
I know that I need to hear these words of Jesus especially in these days when I am coming closer to the reality of being 76 years old with all the accompanying signs of old age – which I won’t go into in detail. I need to be able to hear Jesus saying, “I AM” right here with you and I know your worries and questions. Let me gently put my yoke upon your shoulders and let us move on together.”
The funny thing is that we usually ask God to be near us in our moment of pain or need and then we walk away and do not allow him to yoke us to himself. And we then shake our fist and say, “Where were you when I was in need?” And, of course, we know the answer: “I was carrying you all along the way.” Why is it that we pray to God for guidance and then walk away from the very source of our prayer? Think about the “I AMness” of God and ask if we are more controlled by laws and sacrifice rather than by mercy. “Give Mercy and Mercy shall be given to you. Heaped up and overflowing into the folds of your tunic.”
So, the bottom line: “Be Here Now.” I am the God who is “I AM” not “I Was or I Will Be” and let me place my gentle yoke upon your shoulders and together we will plow our way to where we should be. But always in the “Now Moment of Salvation.” Amen!