Sometimes wisdom and learning come to us in moments and ways, from people that we don’t expect. Moses had fled into the desert after killing a man while defending a fellow Israelite. The last place he expected to have a revelation from God was in the wilderness. His curiosity was piqued by the paradoxical sight of a bush that was not consumed by fire. He was not expecting the sight of such a bush and was even more unprepared for the voice of the living God. The message he received was that God had not abandoned the people of Israel but had heard their cries amid their distress and suffering and was now going to free them by the hands of Moses. God indeed had come to meet him, and he now receives the mission to lead the people from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the land of promise. He knows he is ill-prepared for this mission but is reminded that God will be with him to strengthen and guide him for the task that lies ahead.
In the Gospel, Jesus prays in wonder and gratitude for this moment in his ministry when he has just called and instructed the Twelve as he sends them out to share in his mission. He knows well that they have much to learn as disciples. The religious authorities have not embraced his message or his vision of the kingdom. The road ahead will have many blessings and challenges. God’s promise to Moses was of enduring presence and accompaniment. Jesus goes even further since he is “God-with-us” and promises to be with us as we grow into discipleship. For this gift we give thanks.
Fr. Chris Monaghan CP, lectures in the New Testament and is President of Yarra Theological Union. He is a member of the Passionist community of Holy Cross in Templestowe.