Our choir enclosure grille, designed by our Sister Pius, depicts the burning bush, God’s revelation to Moses that we heard in today’s first reading at Holy Mass. Indeed, the sanctuary is the daily place of encounter with the living God where He again “comes down” to rescue us from the slavery of our sin. Poor Clares walk barefoot, not only to keep faith with Lady Poverty, but because we tread on “holy ground”, contemplating the mystery of God’s abiding presence in His Eucharist, and pondering His Word in the Sacred Scriptures.
When Moses asked of God His name, he was given the answer: “I AM”. God simply IS, and for the moment, Moses had to be content with this enigmatic name. But, by the time Moses had led the Israelites out of Egypt, he was on more familiar terms with his divine Friend and asked for a deeper revelation. Then it was that God completed His self definition: “The Lord passed by him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord,(HE IS, HE IS), a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” (Ex. 34:6). The responsorial psalm celebrates God’s mercy and the Gospel presents Jesus as the living incarnation of merciful love.
It is Jesus who is the gardener of His parable, eager to “fertilize” languishing, unfruitful souls. Now every gardener knows that REAL fertilizer does not come in a bag of sanitary granules, but from the odoriferous waste products of animals and plants, duly composted and worked by our friend the lowly earthworm Jesus, in His Passion, calls Himself “a worm and no man, scorned by men, despised by the people” (Ps. 22). On the Cross, Jesus took all the garbage we threw at Him and transformed it by loving mercy, into that which would make our lives fertile and fruitful. When we too must suffer, we too bring new life to the world if we take the pain as He did, with obedient and trusting love.