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  • Father David M. Knight

Father David's Reflection for Thursday of Week Fifteen (Ordinary Time)

The Responsorial (Psalm 105) gives us a distinguishing characteristic of God: “The Lord remembers his

covenant forever.” God never rejects us. The word “steadfast” appears 187 times in the Bible.

In Exodus 3: 13-20 Moses asks how the Israelites will know that God has sent him to them. And the proof he asks for is the fundamental proof that accredits every true minister: “If they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” Authentic ministry is grounded in personal knowledge of God. If we are just the ministers of a “system” or a “religion,” no matter how good, but without personal — and preferably intimate — knowledge of God, who will listen to us? Who should?

God tells Moses at this point that his name is “I AM,” which emphasizes God’s transcendence. God is that Being whose existence needs no cause or explanation because he self-evidently IS. If we could see him as he is, we could not ask, “Where did he come from? What caused him?” because we would see him as the only Being in existence who has within himself the cause, the reason, the unrequired explanation of his existence. We know, even from reason alone, that such a Being has to exist; otherwise the existence of contingent beings like ourselves would be unintelligible and all human reasoning ultimately absurd. If we see a line of freight cars moving uphill, we don’t know what is pulling them, but we know it is ultimately something that has its own source of power. The same is true of things that exist but have no source of being within themselves. There has to be an Uncaused Cause one that does not need a cause because it has the source of its being within itself.

Later, when God showed his “glory,” his deep, interior identity, to Moses, he “passed before him, and proclaimed, ‘The LORD… a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.’” A minister who is not “merciful and gracious,” and whose ministry does not express above all God’s steadfast love and faithfulness does not know God. Such a one is not to be trusted.[1]

Also, a minister who is not faithful to the tradition of revelation from Abraham to the Apostles is not speaking of the Christian God. “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your ancestors… of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, has sent me to you.’” The ministers of revelation respect revelation all the way to its roots.

In Eucharistic Prayer I we ask God to accept our sacrifice:

as once you accepted the gifts of your servant Abel, the sacrifice of Abraham, our father in faith, and the bread and wine offered by your priest Melchisedech.

The Mass keeps us in touch with our history.

In Matthew 11: 28-30 Jesus identifies himself as characterized by “steadfast love and fidelity.” “Come to me… I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” His ministers should be able to say the same thing.

Initiative: Be a priest. Show you know God by treating all with kindness

[1] Exodus 34:6.

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