Dear St. Paul Family,
A few days after Easter, I found myself looking at the lectionary readings for the coming days. I was struck by the reading for the Third Sunday in Easter – Exodus 32:15-35. This passage describes Moses’ descent from Mount Sinai and his subsequent discovery of the wild scene in the Israelite camp, where his people had, in his absence, begun to worship a golden calf fashioned from their jewelry by his own brother, Aaron.
This radical departure from the ways of the God who had led them out of Egypt is quite remarkable when you consider that at most a mere 80-100 days had probably passed since He had intervened miraculously and parted the Red Sea so that they were able to cross on dry land, and then allowed the waters to resume their normal disposition, drowning the pursuing Egyptian army.
This turn of events certainly made an impression on every man and woman who witnessed it, and it is inconceivable that within a few months it had been totally forgotten. Yet here they were, in the midst of a party of epic proportions, bowing down and worshiping an idol of their own creation, and making the radical claim that it was the god that had led them out of Egypt. Surely they knew better!
As a child when I read these passages I remember thinking “What is wrong with these people?” The sad truth, though, is that the very same thing that was wrong with those people affects us as well, just as it has affected every man and woman since the fall. If we are all honest with ourselves, we know all too well that we also sin against our Lord, even with the memory of receiving His body and blood at His table still fresh. We, too, are quick to turn away from Him.
Yet still, knowing this, our Lord sent His beloved Son to “take frail flesh and die” for our sins! Even when we turn away from Him, we know that “[if] we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
This is why Easter and all it entails is so glorious; we celebrate His resurrection— a resurrection that we will share in because we have been baptized into His death (Romans 6:3-6)! Because of this, we can join with all of the saints of His church and say with joy “He is risen! Christ is risen! Alleluia!”
In nomine Jesu,