In the space of fifteen verses in chapter two of the Book of Exodus, we go from the infant Moses to the man Moses on the run, trying to run away from not only his birth but also his rash actions in killing an Egyptian overseer. This is hardly an auspicious beginning for the one who will become the embodiment of the Law of Israel. Moses, who eventually shapes the foundation of the covenant between God and the Israelites, begins life as an adopted child and becomes a fugitive from the justice of Pharoah.
Not only is he a man on the run, he will be described in chapter four as “slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10). Yet this is the man that God chooses to be the spokesperson, the one who is to bring God’s word first to the enslaved Israelites and ultimately to Pharaoh himself. In the Book of Genesis, we heard that God usually chose the younger son. In Exodus, he chooses the least likely to succeed.
Of course, this doesn’t make any difference to God. This reading is a good one to remember whenever we feel that God is calling us to do something that we don’t feel very capable of doing. We are never left to our own devices when it comes time to act. As in the case of Moses, whatever God calls us to do can be accomplished with God’s help. We cannot do such things on our own. This recognition of our need for God – and our own inability to act independent of him – is important to our relationship with him.
We know, as we have heard it said, there is nothing we can do apart from God, but with God, all things are possible. Of course, our willingness to trust this and move forward without knowing what the result will be requires us to let go of our need to try to control situations and outcomes. If God can make Moses a great leader, knowing that he may not have the appearance of one, then we should be confident that when God calls us to love and serve others in new and different ways, our efforts will bear good fruit, perhaps in ways not always evident to us.
What is God calling us to do?
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator