The readings for the Third Sunday of Lent provide opportunities for numerous reflections. We attended a workshop with Sister Miriam Therese Winter. On the way home, we worshipped at the Mary Mother of God Community with Bridget Mary Meehan. Obviously, my reflections today will be influenced heavily by the wonder-full teachings these Spirit-filled women shared with us.
In the first reading, Moses experiences the Divine. Paradoxology kicks in as Moses observes something quite remarkable—a burning bush that does not burn the bush. The bush burns and it does not burn. This is paradox, holding opposites together, living with the opposites without trying to resolve the dilemma in favor of one of the other. Sister Miriam Therese Winter speaks of quantum spirituality. We do not live according to paradigms—patterns for understanding, order and control. We live in paradox. We live with mystery we cannot reduce to one factor or another. We live in the Divine. The Divine is mystery to be embraced not a problem to be solved.
Second, experiencing the Divine, Moses is told to remove his shoes. We stand on holy ground. Holy ground places us in the presence of the Divine. In a reflective homily, Bridget Mary Meehan asked us, “What do we have to remove in order to experience the Divine? What patterns are keeping us from experiencing Holy Ground—the presence of the Divine in our lives? What is keeping us from being present to the Presence?” What in us is in need of healing so we can enter more fully into the experience of Divinity? Lent is time to take off our shoes and seek healing.
Paul issues some stern warnings about conduct and watching out so that we do not fall like some of our forebears have. Paul’s fear-based warnings which reduce religion to morality are out of sync with Jesus in the Gospel. Here Paul, the former Pharisee, is into the fear-based patriarchal religion of command and control, pay and obey.
Did Paul not read that the farmer relented and did not cut down the unfruitful tree? This is the Divine that Jesus shows us—infinite mercy, love and compassion. Merton’s mercy beyond mercy beyond mercy beyond mercy. What did the merciful farmer do? He ordered the gardener to refurbish the soil, fertilize and water the barren tree. He ordered TLC for the suffering, struggling tree. He gave the tree time to recover from whatever was causing it to be unfruitful. Divinity showers us with love. The Divine is patient and kind. The Divine Mercy falls upon good and evil alike just like the sun and rain—free gifts from a Loving God.
We stand on holy ground. We enter into prayer for healing so that Jesus, the Divine Physician, might heal us and bring us to new resurrected life.
In our quantum universe, Love is the energy flowing forth from the Creator. The implosion of the original stardust which rushed forth to create life at the Creator’s command continues to morph into new life today. This Energy is God with us but always beyond us. Paradox and mystery again.
Jesus promises to give us new life—new energy—in abundance. Jesus wants us to have everything we need. The Resurrected Jesus is Life. The Resurrected Jesus is the Divine Energy. The Resurrected Jesus is Love. His energy vibrates throughout the universe and in our innermost being. All ground is holy ground because the Divine is surging through it. God is everywhere and God is nowhere (now-here). Isn’t paradox wonderful?
God reveals God’s name to Moses. Names are dangerous because, when you can name something, you have some control over it. The Divine is beyond all names but we need names to appreciate the diversity in the Divine. Merton read Gilson’s History of Medieval Philosophy. He gained a new insight into the God who was searching for him (even though he thought he was searching for God). Merton then understood Divinity as the Ground of Being. But, again, if God is being, then God is no-being. The Divine is “I AM.” The Divine IS, we ARE.
To expand upon Merton, we live in a quantum paradise and we do not even know it. Look for the burning bush, takeoff whatever you need to take off, and stand on the Holy Ground of Divine Being. Come to the water. Come to new life.