The names that we give to our children at Baptism are generally well thought out beforehand, because a person’s name is very precious; it is their identity. As we grow older, the sound of our name can be music to our ears, or the sound could herald something serious. It all depends on how our name is said. Many years ago when I went to school, we were generally called by our Surnames…Walshie has always been my nick-name, and it continued in Seminary days and to this day, especially by Priests, it has always been said in endearment. If someone is upset with me, they call me KEVIN!
For our Australian Aboriginal sisters and brothers, they are generally not in a hurry to give their child a name after birth, until they start to see aspects of its personality emerge. Sometimes the names that we give our children are handed down from generation to generation or they might be a special Saint’s name whose life we might strive to imitate. Our name is us! When we re call the name of a person in conversation, the whole person comes to mind….hopefully bringing smiles to our faces.
In the first reading this Sunday, we have the unveiling of God’s name…a very unusual name. This begs the question: how do we get to know God? Well, believe it or not, we get to know God in the same way as we get to know each other. How did you meet you wife or husband? How, and when did you meet your best friend? The gradual knowledge of who that person is, becomes known to us through: 1. Intrigue…chemistry attraction. 2. A thrilling adventure opens up. 3. Trust is required. 4. Conversation fuels the development of the relationship. The same applies to God…….however, there is something a bit different. WE could never have found God, if God had not found US first!!
Let’s have a look at the first Reading…Moses in the quiet of the evening, sees a Bush on fire, but not burning up….what does he do? Curiosity seizes him, and he goes to check it out. The Lord God saw him going forward….and the Lord God called Moses by his name! Wow! What a surprise that must have been for Moses? The Lord God tells Moses to unstrap his sandals because the ground is holy. Here we have an act of trust required by Moses, because as he undoes his sandals, his back is open to attack! What makes this new ground holy? The budding conversation that is changing Moses forever! Then the Lord God shares a little more with Moses about who he is…..’Ah! Thinks Moses, this is the God of my ancestors…we have stories about this God’. Here the Lord God identifies with the suffering of his people, and hears their cry for help. The Lord God will deliver his people from misery, and give them their own fertile land. As this conversation gets deeper between the Lord God and Moses, another huge act of trust is required by Moses….Guess who was to be the spokesperson on behalf of the Lord God? Moses himself!!!
Here we have the unveiling of the Divine Name….not a usual name, because a usual name cannot contain God! ‘I am who am’…..YHWH…Meaning: – You will know who I am from what my people who have experienced me say about me in their stories. You will know who I am through what I do for you. You will know who I am from what I say to you. Hence the household name for God is Adonai…Lord!
God speaks to us through his Word, because it is always evergreen. God speaks to us through His living Body – God’s People, the Church. God is present with us, and in us, through the Eucharist………We become, what we consume! Maybe our Lenten prayer could well be…’Speak Lord your Servant is listening’…..instead of, ‘Listen Lord, your servant is speaking’. Food for Thought!
We are now half way through Lent….let’s do a different kind of examination of conscience…
THE WOMAN AT THE WELL.
A woman named SAD-OF HEART met Jesus at the well. Sighing with relief she placed the burden of her leaden heart at his feet. “No one cares”, She cried to him. He turned her face to him and held it in his strong hands. He just loved her.
A woman named BURNED-OUT CASE found Jesus at the well. “I’m too tired to go on. No one really understands. I feel used up, nothing more to give. I want to quit, but I don’t know how” she sobbed as she held out the worn out pieces of her life, faded, frayed, and fragile. Jesus offered her his arm and said, “Come to me and I will refresh you and restore you to wholeness”.
A woman named ANGRY discovered Jesus at the well. “Why isn’t anyone willing to listen to me?” she shouted. “What do I do that turns away my chances of being heard? Must I be a first class story teller just to get a hearing?” Jesus took her anger as one receives a gift and said, “Speak to me. My heart is ready, my heart is ready.” And so we pray:
A woman named RESENTMENT approached Jesus at the well. Her face could not hide her feelings. “No matter how much I do, it never seems enough,” she complained. “I resent that my performance is measured against someone else’s accomplishments. I can only be who I am.” Laying his hand on her head, Jesus whispered into her ear: “you are my chosen, holy and beloved.”
A woman named WANTING-TO FALL-IN-LOVE-AGAIN sought Jesus at the well. The light in her eyes spoke the questions in her heart. “How can I fall in love all over again? What will it look like when I do and how will I know I have?” Radiant with joy, Jesus smiled at her and said, “if only you recognized God’s Gift…the desire to love is already loving…!”
A woman named NEEDING-FORGIVENESS came to Jesus at the well. Tears of repentance like gentle rain washed over her face and fell on his sandaled feet. “Forgive me, for I have sinned, and my sin is always before me. Do not cast me away from your presence”. Holding her to his heart, Jesus promised, “With great love I take you back, my love. I will never leave you and my covenant of peace shall not be shaken. As far as the east is from the west, so far have I cast your sins from you.” And so we pray:-
A woman named WAITING-IN-STILLNESS sat with Jesus at the well. She looked at his face. She said nothing. She held her heart in readiness.
‘Give me your heart.” Jesus said, ‘I want to fill the emptiness. I want to mend the brokenness. I want to give it the shape of my own.”
A woman named CONFUSED-OF-HEART dragged her feet in the dust as she approached Jesus at the well. She couldn’t raise her eyes to him. “I don’t know what I want or how I feel. I have volcanoes and tidal waves inside me and I’m so afraid they will destroy me and those I care about.” Jesus called her to the rim of the well: “See how deep it is, probably so full. But we can only draw up one bucket at a time.” He dropped the bucket over the ledge, filled it a brought it to the top. “Take it slowly,” Jesus urged, “One bucket, one feeling at a time. The well of you is so deep, but I will help you draw yourself into light.”
A woman named APOSTLE raced to Jesus at the well. “Hurry,” she cried,
“There’s so much to do! I’m busy, I’m tired, but come on, let’s get moving!”
Jesus replied: “Let me stay with you awhile. You are bread for the world, but let me take you, bless you, break you open. Let ME give you to others….
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