Lord, I want things to be clear! Lord, I want to know with certainty! Lord I want you to take away all the doubt and confusion! How often do we pray these kinds of things? How often do we want the disorders of this fallen world to disappear by some miraculous intervention of God. And then, like the people in this Sunday’s Gospel, when we suffer trials, injustices, and other signs of misfortune, we believer that this is a sign that God has cursed us.
We fail to see the truth of God’s love because we live on the surface of reality. We fail to discover the truth about ourselves and our existence, and instead of surrendering to God in faith, hope, and love, we demand that God’s answers conform to our limited ways of seeing and understanding instead of vice-versa.
In this Sunday’s celebration, we see God’s answers to our desire for certainty. In the first reading, his answer to Moses is mysterious. God says that his name is “I am,” as if he is trying to say that instead of long complicated lines of reasoning, the path to freedom lies in recognizing that he is always present, always with us. Likewise, Jesus seems to be saying in the Gospel that instead of trying to figure out who is cursed and who is blessed, our sole thought must be to conform our lives to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Thus, we must learn to let go of our desire for certainty.
In a strange way, our constant desire to try and figure everything out sabotages our ability to rest in the moment, and it is ultimately our ability to rest which gives rise to happiness and beauty. The mind is never satisfied with knowing, and the body is never satisfied with pleasure. Our fasting and penance is simply a symbol of our looking past the things of this world and discover the God of all things who secretly moves below the surface.
Today, instead of trying to solve the world’s problems or even solve the problems within our families, let us seek that rest of God which goes beyond our natural abilities. Let us say to the Lord, Lord, help me to surrender my understanding, surrender my mind, surrender my will, surrender everything I am to you with complete abandonment. Let me seek not myself, but you in everything and everything in you. In this way, we will truly bear fruit.
For this Sunday’s readings, see http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022816-third-sunday-lent.cfm