Thursday of the Fourth Week of Lent
It’s what the Israelites ran out of, there at the base of Mount Sinai, waiting for Moses to come down, wondering even if he would.
So they went conventional. Built themselves a golden calf (actually a young bull). It was a common enough symbol of the divine in the ancient Near East. Any passers-by would have known immediately what happened next, all the sacrifices, the eating, the drinking, the dancing: Religion!
It’s also what God runs out of, surveying all the commotion down at base camp. A golden calf! What bull! Did this people not understand the point of their liberation from Egypt? It was to be anything but conventional.
“Yes, they’re a rough bunch,” replies Moses, “but remember your promises!” (Moses is not as forgiving, as it turns out.)
It’s what we run out of, and why, in truth, we prefer our gods molten, conventional. For on their shiny surfaces we hope to catch a reflection of our own image, however distorted.
“How can you believe,” says Jesus, “since you look to each other for glory and are not concerned with the glory that comes from the one God?” (Jn 5:44 NJB).
“Here I am,” offers Jesus. Life. “Look my way, if you can.”
Dr. Paul J. Wojda
Associate Professor of Theology
Director of the Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship