Third Sunday of Lent
March 23-24, 2019
“Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”
God speaks to Moses from the burning bush. He introduces himself to Moses by providing his name and some background information as to his identity. God communicates his concern for the Israelites along with his intention to rescue them. For all intents and purposes, it’s just God and Moses having a little one-on-one…except for that one little requirement that God makes at the beginning of the encounter: “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”
As Catholic Christians, we are taught that there are seven gifts bestowed on us by the Holy Spirit. When I learned those gifts, the seventh one was called “Fear of the Lord.” Today, that gift is referred to as “Awe in God’s presence.” And I think that is what God was teaching Moses by instructing him to remove his shoes at the burning bush.
My brother-in-law is Muslim. When he prays, he must wash up; remove his shoes and jewelry; find a clean surface to stand on; and face a certain direction. I think that all those preparations provide an opportunity to understand a sense of awe in God’s presence.
When we attend Mass, we are given the opportunity to approach the altar of God and receive him, ultimately, into every cell of our body. But, as we approach that altar to receive the precious Body and Blood of our Lord, do we take a moment to remember that we are standing on holy ground? Do we contemplate the “awe”someness of the gift and of the God who gives the gift?
Anywhere that we encounter God is holy ground. God desires an intimate and familiar relationship with us. He wants to meet with us and speak to us, just as he did with Moses. But, he knows that it is important for us to experience a sense of awe in his presence. After all, he is God. Let us look for ways to remove our shoes and bask in the awesomeness of God.