Scripture: 1st Reading: Ex.3,13-20; Resp. Psalm: Ps105,1,5,8-9,24-27; Gosp. Accl.: Mt11,28; Gospel: Mt11,28-30
The God who is, the God who does not change, the Immanent now, the God who has no past, present or future, whose power is infinite, whose existence is limitless because He is not within time but in eternity. The God who calls His name I AM WHO I AM. The eternal now, living and true, forever and ever. That is the name He called Himself and wants to be known!
Sometimes in our lives we think that God is too busy to take notice of us. He is too mighty to notice out littleness. He is too preoccupied with other more important things to notice that we are dying under our burdens. How mistaken we are! His dealings with Israel should give us a glimpse into His nature. He did not just send someone to rescue Israel. He came down Himself! That process continued in today's first reading. He told Moses today what He wanted of him.
Moses needed a confirmation of the experience he was having. Moses needed to know whose messenger he was going to be. He needed to know the name of the One sending him to Israel, the One who would directly order their lives from this period forward and to Whom they would owe their allegiance.
The Living God told Moses to tell the people that I Am, that is, the eternal now, the unchanging God, without beginning or end, is the One sending me to you. This powerful name is the one the Living God will be known for and identified with throughout all generations. Yahweh identified Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. In other words, as the God who took these patriarchs as His own, chose them and made a covenant of love with them.
This was not all. Yahweh specifically told Moses: "I have observed you and what has been done to you in Egypt; and I promise that I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt, to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, a land flowing with milk and honey." Yahweh said He had taken note of the affliction and sufferings of His people. He had seen their distress and heard their cry for liberation from their oppressors.
Yahweh had decided to act, to bring Israel up from the land of Egypt! We must remember that this was Israel that had nothing, no army, no chariots, no horsemen, no soldiers. But we must remember here that it is the mighty God that is commanding and issuing orders here. When He so decides to act, no mortal can stand in the way. No Pharaoh can raise his standard against the Him and live to tell the story.
Yahweh did not tell Moses how He was going to do it, the strategies He was going to adopt. All that Yahweh wanted was the obedience of Moses to His invitation to lead the people in His name. But He was not just going to bring them up. He was going to fulfill the promise He made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that He would give them a land.
We must also not forget that Jacob and his small family of not more than two hundred persons were the ones that left Canaan for Egypt about four hundred years earlier. In the meantime, other peoples has settled on the land. But Yahweh's promise and sovereign will must be obeyed. He had promised the land because "the Lord's is the earth and it's fulness". The earth belonged to Him. He had power to do whatever He willed with it.
Moses and the elders of Israel were to go to Pharaoh and tell him the demands of the I AM. this actually was the third reason why Yahweh was bringing Israel out: to constitute Israel into a worshipping nation, a nation specially dedicated to the worship of Yahweh. Pharaoh was to be told to let Israel go for three days into the wilderness so that the nation of Israel could sacrifice to the Lord its God.
Yahweh told Moses that Pharaoh would never allow Israel to go without being compelled to. Yahweh then promised that Pharaoh would see His mighty hand. He promised that He would stretch out His hand and strike Egypt with all the wonders He would do in it and that after Egypt had seen His wonders, Pharaoh would let Israel go.
The word of God today makes us understand clearly that Yahweh is a covenant keeping God. He is the eternal now; He does not change. Yahweh listens to the cries of His people. When He decides to act, no mortal can stand in the way. He is compassionate, merciful and just. Our Lord Jesus demonstrated and revealed this to us during His earthly ministry.
In today's gospel, He told all His disciples to come to Him, especially those who labour and are heavy laden. He promised to give them rest. We come to Him when we cry to Him that we could not do it alone; in those moments when we reach the end of our tethers, when we are cornered, surrounded and we know there is no escape route. He promised to give us rest. He asked that we take His yoke upon us and learn from Him because He is gentle and lowly of heart.
Our Lord assured us today that it is in Him and only in Him that we can find rest for our souls. This is because His yoke is always easy and His burden is always light. Our Lord thus made us understand that He knows there are some of us who are carrying heavy burdens in life. Like the Israelites who carried the burden of slavery and who were given rest by Yahweh, our Lord promised rest to anyone of us who cries to Him. Let us heed His voice and enter into His peace.
Let us pray: Lord our God, we thank you for the consolation that your word gives us this morning. Remember us in our needs. When the waves overwhelm and threaten to submerge us, let us experience your salvation. Come down to us and lift us up to you. Save us and heal us. Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.