by Msgr. Eric R. Barr, STL
READINGS: SIRACH 3:17-18,20,28-29; HEBREWS 12: 18-19,22-24; LUKE 14:1,7-14
I. How To Meet God In Two Easy Steps
A. In your mind, let the movie cameras roll: It’s twilight, and the stars are just coming out as the sun is setting, Behind you, a vast level desert, and in front of you a mountain red like blood. And swirling in front and above that mountain a tornado big as the biggest one in the movie, "Twister", and in the midst of that tornado, fire, lots of it, burning ever brighter as the night grows darker. Thunder booms, a sound like trumpets roaring, and then, The Voice, so powerful that you miss the words, so powerful that your belly tightens with fear and awe, and you wish it would stop but you find yourself drawing ever closer to the mountain.
B. Check your Bibles–that’s what Moses and the People saw and heard their first night at Mt. Sinai. And they were afraid, for they knew it was God, the same God who had just crushed Pharaoh’s army, his chariots and charioteers. But they did not run into the darkness of that desert, because in their fear they also had a need for God. They found themselves drawing closer to the mountain. In their need, they discovered God and they were awestruck. Not much different from us, right? When we are in need and call out to God, he can be stunning. We see his power when he saves us from certain death, or at a beautiful moment when a baby is born, or between a married couple when they express their love sexually, or even when we come across a beautiful landscape. When we are lost and God reveals himself to us, it can take our breath away, and we are left with an abiding awe–what or who was that who has just touched our lives? Now, I’ve experienced that, and no doubt some of you have too. It doesn’t take a great holiness to experience God this way, just an open heart, a heart open to the possibility that God might come and visit. Having an open heart is the first step in meeting God. But this experience of God, great as it is, is kind of one sided. God takes our breath away, stuns us with his power, and is gone. For a long time, the Israelites felt that was all the experience one could really have with God. I’ll bet we think an encounter with God is kind of sporadic too; in other words, it doesn’t happen very often.