Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Meeting Tent

Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Exodus 33:7-11, 34:5b-9, 28 (The Meeting Tent)

We read in the book of Exodus that Moses used to pitch the tent of meeting outside the camp of the Israelites.  There, accompanied by his young aid Joshua, he would speak to the Lord face to face as one man speaks to his friend.  Afterwards, Moses would return to the camp, but Joshua would remain in the tent.  Why did Joshua linger in the meeting tent?  Was the experience of being close to God, of seeing the pillar of cloud and hearing the divine voice so overwhelming that for awhile he could not move?  Was he reluctant to return to ordinary life like St. Peter on Mt. Tabor who exclaimed, “Lord, it is good for us to be here!  Let us erect 3 tents…”  Or was he like another young Joshua (otherwise sometimes known by the Greek form of his name) who remained in the temple without his parents’ knowledge in order to be about his father’s business?  Moses was glad to return to the camp unassisted.  The man who had met God in the burning bush knew that Joshua, son of Nun, would someday be a leader of Israel and that the best training for such a vocation is contemplative prayer.  Before Joshua could lead he would have to learn to be led by the Lord.  May all who are called to ministry in the Church learn this lesson as well.

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