Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
Exodus 32:7-14, John 5: 31-47
How many Lenten sermons have we all heard about a stiff-necked people, and so we should. Almost any generation could be described as “depraved” and too quick to forget the faithfulness of the Father, instead turning to idols of their own making. What’s your molten calf? Wealth, ambition, popularity, passing ideologies, the approval of others? Our generation has many to choose from.
But in this reading I am struck by something else: that is the blazing fury of an angry God, one jealous for his people, righteous in his anger, right in his judgment. This is a God I want to worship, not out of an unhealthy fear but out of a proper respect and awe. I don’t want to worship a thin God, one made from my own impatience or weakness or fear. Can wealth fill the heavens with stars? Can the approval of others set the earth in its orbit? Can a passing, fashionable ideology outlive the eternal truth revealed by the God of all creation?
When I lose a proper awe, a well-placed adoration for Jesus, I am in danger of settling for far less than what the good God would like to offer me. God is a consuming fire and it is precisely this fact that makes his mercy—the restraint of his strength, especially on Calvary—so credible. Mercy from a molten calf is about as compelling and effective as offering a kleenex to someone who needs a heart transplant.
Give me the mercy of the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Moses. Daily, I need a new heart, not a tissue.
Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture