DIVINE ENCOUNTERS AND THEIR TRANSFORMATIVE EFFECTS
First Reading: Exodus 34:29-35
Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 98(99):5-7,9
Gospel: Matthew 13:44-46
In the sacred weave of human history, certain moments stand as luminous encounters with the divine, forever altering the course of individuals’ lives and the destiny of nations. Today, we embark on a journey to explore two transformative encounters, which radiate with profound wisdom and insight, unveiling the timeless truths of God’s presence, grace, and the transformative power of encountering the divine.
The First Reading from Exodus (34:29-35) presents us with the awe-inspiring encounter between Moses and the Almighty on Mount Sinai. As Moses descended from the mountain, his countenance was radiant, shining with the divine glory he had experienced in God’s presence. The brilliance of his face symbolizes the transformative effect of encountering the divine, an encounter that forever marked Moses as the chosen mediator and leader of the Israelite nation. This radiant encounter reveals the profound truth that being in the presence of God leaves an indelible mark on the human soul, illuminating the path of divine guidance and service.
In the Responsorial Psalm (Psalm 98(99):5-7,9), we are drawn into the presence of God, the Holy One, whose profound holiness elicits both fear and reverence. The psalmist reminds us of the divine encounters of our ancestors in faith, particularly with Moses and Aaron, who called upon the Lord, and God answered them from the pillar of cloud. These encounters affirm that the divine presence is not distant or aloof but deeply engaged with humanity, revealing a God who responds to the cries of His people and initiates transformative encounters to guide them on their journey.
The Gospel Reading from Matthew (13:44-46) unfolds two parables of Jesus: the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price. In these parables, we encounter the profound transformative power of encountering the kingdom of heaven. The person who discovers the hidden treasure in a field sells all they have to possess it, and the merchant finding the pearl of great price does the same. These encounters emphasize the inestimable value of the kingdom of heaven and the radical response it demands from those who encounter it. Divine encounters with the kingdom of God prompt us to surrender all worldly attachments and embrace the treasure that surpasses all else.
As we delve deeper into these divine encounters, we recognize the common thread that unites them—the transformative effect of encountering the divine presence. Moses, in his radiant countenance, bears witness to the transformative glory of being in God’s direct presence. The psalmist reminds us of the faithful’s encounters with God, who answers their calls and guides them in their journey. Jesus’ parables reveal that the kingdom of heaven, once encountered, demands a complete reorientation of life’s priorities. Divine encounters are not merely historical events but living realities that resonate throughout the ages. They beckon us to open our hearts to divine encounters in our lives—moments of prayer, worship, Scripture reading, and encounters with our fellow human beings, who are bearers of the divine image. Each encounter, no matter how seemingly ordinary, carries the potential for transformation. Like Moses, we may not have radiant faces, but the radiance of God’s love can shine through our lives, transforming us into agents of His grace and compassion in the world.
In conclusion, as we reflect on the divine encounters of Moses and Jesus, we are invited to seek transformative moments of encounter with the divine in our own lives. Let us approach the Scriptures with openness, seeking to encounter God’s living word. Let us engage in prayer and worship, inviting the divine presence into our hearts. And, like the seekers in Jesus’ parables, let us be willing to surrender all to possess the treasure of the kingdom of heaven. May these divine encounters shape our souls, illumine our paths, and draw us ever closer to the heart of God, transforming us into bearers of His light and love in a world hungering for divine encounters.
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© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Loreto, Vila Medeiros, São Paulo, Brazil
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