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Loving the Real Thing

First Reading: Exodus 3:1-6, 9-12

Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian.Leading the flock across the desert, he came to Horeb,the mountain of God. There an angel of the LORD appeared to him in fire flaming out of a bush.

As he looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed. So Moses decided, “I must go over to look at this remarkable sight, and see why the bush is not burned.”

When the LORD saw him coming over to look at it more closely, God called out to him from the bush, “Moses! Moses!” He answered, “Here I am.” God said, “Come no nearer! Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground. I am the God of your father,” he continued, “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. The cry of the children of Israel has reached me, and I have truly noted that the Egyptians are oppressing them. Come, now! I will send you to Pharaoh to lead my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He answered, “I will be with you; and this shall be your proof that it is I who have sent you: when you bring my people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this very mountain.”

Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 103:1B-2, 3-4, 6-7

The Lord is kind and merciful. Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all my being, bless his holy name.Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits. He pardons all your iniquities, he heals all your ills. He redeems your life from destruction, he crowns you with kindness and compassion. The Lord secures justice and the rights of all the oppressed. He has made known his ways to Moses, and his deeds to the children of Israel.

Gospel: Matthew 11:25-27

At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

ESV

july 15

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to fall in love with an idea? Or create perfect, idealized, dreamy visions of how things should be in your mind only to have the reality be completely different?

This has happened to me time and time again.

Somewhere along the line I make judgements, create a vision of how things could be “perfect,” then I elaborate these dreams further by adding on all the great and wonderful things that will happen in addition to the perfect scenario. I have dreams for the perfect life “in the future,” a future where I’ll have time for all the things, money for all the things, and a miraculous ability to solve the problems of all those around me.

But then I stop and think about how I’ve done in the past when I’ve had dreams about ideas but with no practical experience; like parenting.

Following the certain parenting method of “attachment parenting” will be a cinch, pregnancy will be easy, toddlers will obey my every word because they’ll be adorable all the time—all things that are extremely difficult in actual reality! I’ve been knocked down time and time again by the fact that I’ve been too pregnant to get off the couch and make dinner, the perfect ideal of attachment parenting I had in my mind before having children was changed by the fact I was losing my mind by never sleeping, and my toddlers are energetic and willful people who challenge me on every level.

These examples somehow remind me of today’s Gospel. Sometimes it’s easier to think of God as something far away or above us, as the “I Am” because it allows us to project a lot of what we want into our understanding of God and what He may want of us.

But along comes Jesus who tells us that the Father is the Lord of Heaven and Earth and in relationship with His Son and with all of us. Relationships are much more demanding of us than ideals. Ideals don’t talk back, or ask things from us, or need us. Ideals exist in a vacuum while relationships exist all around us in varying degrees of imperfection and obligation and dependence. If God is our Father, that implies that we must have a childlike relationship with Him, but what if our own reality tells us that the fatherly experience is a painful and harmful one? Relationships get so messy so fast.

On the flip side, it is so much more beautiful that God the Father and God the Son are in relationship and want that relationship with us. How much more tangible, rewarding, unexpected, and personal is our love for our husband, children, parents, siblings than the love we have for our ideals and dreams? We love the people in our lives for themselves; for their own beauty, their own quirks, their own unique ways of being. And that is the love of the Father for us; He loves us deeply through all our issues and wounds to our own unique hearts. And how marvelous that the Lord of Heaven and Earth wants us to love Him with that same personal love.

How incredible is it that the Lord of Heaven and Earth is my heavenly Father? God wants a real relationship with me.

photo by Corynne Olivia

Christy Isinger is the mom to five lovely, loud children living in the Canadian wilds. You can find out more about her here.

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