My Dear Friends!
In the first reading at this Eucharist we have another moment of Divine revelation. The main difference is that what Moses faced didn’t happen in an obviously sacred place. Eugene went to church while Moses was doing a less sacred activity. He was walking sheep and goats of his father-in-law. Some of us dream about something similar, to have a Divine revelation to support and assure us that God is there, to strengthen our doubting faith, don’t we? However before you start grumbling over a lack of such an event in your life let me draw your attention to the fact that such a revelation is a double deal. What does it mean? You may not know what followed that Good Friday moment which St Eugene had but most of us should be aware what followed that event on the Mount Horeb which Moses had. Today’s first reading is from the Book of Exodus. By the way do you know what Exodus means? It means departure, exit etc. as it tells of the great deliverance of the people of God from the Egyptian slavery. But the events from today’s first reading happened before that. Moses had to run away from Egypt because the Pharaoh wanted to kill him. He already settled down as a married man. That a double deal too, if people get married their in-laws are included in the deal, don’t they? So God reveals himself to Moses. What happened after that? Moses went back to Egypt. He went back to the country he didn’t want to visit any more. He went there because it was God’s will. God chose him to be a means of deliverance for his fellow people.
What happened with Eugene very shortly after his Divine moment was joining a group of people who volunteered to work in the local prison. They ensured that the prisoners had proper food and clothing as well as spiritual support. St Eugene releasing how much he was forgiven and loved by God wanted to go to the people who were in the most miserable situation. 200 years ago you would be in a very miserable situation if you were in prison.
Those two examples remind us that faith means sharing. Do not expect God to support your faith if you want to keep that support to yourself. If you want faith to make you feel happy, comfortable, pleased etc. Faith will always take you out of your own self-centered attitude. Faith will always direct you to others.
My Dear Sisters and Brothers! Even if a burning bush doesn’t happen to many of us, or Good Friday service doesn’t make such an impact on us like it did on St Eugene de Mazenod, God has given us a means, or better to say three means, to reinforce the work of God’s grace in us: fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Don’t choose one or the other but accept them as a done deal. We need three of them practice to be practiced. Just think how many people are vegetarians or on diet these days. If by being vegetarian or dieting meant being religious our world would be like a convent now, but it is not. Most of those who don’t eat meat or are on various diets don’t do this for the sake of God and others but for their own sake. It doesn’t move them out of their own self-centered world but it keeps them simply focused on themselves. That’s why we need prayer to move us to God and we need almsgiving to move us to those in need.
Do you dream about strong faith in you, in your family and in our society? Happy fasting, praying and almsgiving to you all.