Last Sundayís Gospel presented us with the image of the triumphant Moses, standing in serene dignity alongside the Prophet Elijah at the Transfiguration of Jesus.
But in todayís first reading, we see a very different Moses ñ one close to throwing in the towel.
The reading takes place early on in the 40-year trek of the people of Israel through the desert on their way to the Promised Land.
Tired and thirsty, they grumble against Moses as the one who brought them out of Egypt. Considering their previous existence as slaves, the collective short memory of the people must have exasperated Moses considerably.
Still, it is hard to work up much sympathy for Moses because, whenever the people grumble at him, his response seems to be to grumble at God.
It is in his conversations with God that we see glimpses of the insecure person Moses truly was.
Moses is one of a long line of reluctant biblical heroes. In the tradition of prophets like Jonah and Jeremiah, he tried to talk his way out of Godís call.
CFCA President and Co-founder Bob Hentzen witnesses a sunrise in the Andes mountains along Walk2gether.
But, as with the prophets, God did not take Mosesí ìnoî as his final answer.
Of course, God does take no for an answer, and would have taken it from Moses if that was truly the desire of Mosesí heart.
But God knew that, despite his doubts and fears, Moses really did want to lead. He just needed a little divine push in order to discover his best self.
Mosesí dilemma is ours as well. We too sometimes need help discovering our best selves. We too often find ourselves at the crossroads between safe choice and the risk of accomplishment.
Sometimes we fear failure and sometimes we fear success. Whatever our fears, it usually just seems easier to avoid the risk.
But there are times when that ìsafeî choice isnít really so safe and life compels us to take leaps of faith.
We see this every day in the CFCA world when parents living in poverty decide to send their children to school instead of into the fields to work, or when communities join together to learn new ways to generate income.
As courageous choices help these people rise from oppressive poverty, we are reminded of the good that comes from saying ìyesî to the God of the possible.
As he dealt with his thirsty, grumbling community of wanderers, Moses probably regretted his ìyesî to God. It surely wasnít the first time he felt that way and it wouldnít be the last.
The important thing is that, no matter how he felt at any given moment, Moses remained faithful to his commitment to God.
In so doing, he also remained faithful to his best self.
May this Lent be a time for each of us to discover and embrace, in ever deeper ways, our best selves.
- Read the first Lenten reflection: Learning to love others more deeply
- Read the second Lenten reflection: Learning to listen for the voice of God
- Read the fourth Lenten reflection: Opening our eyes and hearts to a new vision
- Read the fifth Lenten reflection: Rising again from small, everyday ‘deaths’
- Read the sixth Lenten reflection: Embracing the reality of the cross
- Read the seventh Lenten reflection:†Making sense of the empty tomb