The first reading contains many elements that are familiar. Moses goes into the desert to fast for 40 days and nights. So did Jesus, and so do we each lent. He also goes into a special tent where he alone is in the true presence of God. I know this is later how things function with the Holy of Holies…the sacred place where the ten commandments were contained. Only the High Priest would be able to enter during Yom Kippur. It was an exclusive place, that could only be entered on rare occasions.
As I kneel in front of Jesus in the Eucharist, I am struck with awe. God, Your true presence is here right now, right in front of me! And I get to talk to You as Moses did - face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. What a gift! Intimate relationship with God is no longer exclusive. I have the opportunity at any time of the day, any day to come before him and spend time with Him. Jesus’ life changed everything. He blew the doors of that tent wide open so everyone could have this experience with Him. And so often I take this for granted.
Which brings me to the Gospel reading. At the end of time, Jesus says, the evil doers will suffer. That’s a scary thought because we are ALL evil doers to an extent. But the righteous will shine like the sun. THAT is what I want and that desire ought to be the main focus in my life. I want an easy, happy life, free from suffering. Of course we all do, right? (Although I guess there were many enlightened saints who saw such beauty in suffering…I have a long way to go until I get to that level). But what I need to desire MORE than an easy, pleasant life on earth, is unity with God.
More often than not, it is the desire of convenience and comfort that drives my decision-making. I don’t FEEL like waking up for Mass. Or I’d rather watch Netflix than pray. I don’t hate God, I’m just lazy. But how can I be that way?? In a world of imperfect relationships, often derailed by selfishness, you love us with at steadfast love.
Jesus, you want to speak to me as a man and his friend and you want to spend quality time with me. A lot of times, I just want to check off a box (yep, went to mass. check). But this is not what You desire. You desire relationship.
Dear Jesus, my friend. In You I find comfort and steadfast love. You love me no matter how annoying or infuriating I can be. You understand me in a way no one on this Earth ever can because You created me. Give me the Grace to not take this love for granted and to always put You first, as You do for me.