What Burning Bush is God using Roget your attention?

Two weeks ago, a group of us were at the fish fry/ sharing stories & laughs.

And the next morning I received this text from one gentlemen.

My heart swelled with tears of joy knowing that last night with the few of us sitting together, reached into our past and in some very special way, alongside of us, at that table, where the souls of our family and friends… that sit in our church, in the Book of Remembrance, and where present to us last night!

Last night showed me the meaning of our yearly tradition of All Souls Day!

Now that is precisely what we were never taught to look for! Why?

Well, as you know all churches make up the Body of Christ…

However, in particular there’s the Western Church, or Roman Church… &

the Eastern Church, otherwise known as the Orthodox Church.

And until they split, these two were referred to as the Lungs of the Body of Christ!

But the split means what? - we are only breathing w/one lung! Right?

Here’s the difference.

In the Western Church, the Roman, it’s all about morality!

That God came to earth to be a policeman… it’s about the do’ and don’ts!

And unfortunately, most people stay there, at the behavioral or moral level.

*In the Eastern Church it’s about…becoming… a mystic!

-*that every Christian is called to be a mystic…

-if you look at the scriptures, perfection is not the goal because that just takes you to individualism, as if the individual could be perfect! If I ever think,

The real goal is union! The real goal is intimacy -

So, w/that said, I want to use this time to just preach on the 1st reading… because this 1st reading from Exodus is really where the whole Bible begins, this is how it starts!!!

It doesn't start with Genesis, that's written much later than this.

This is the founding event that creates the Jewish history & the Jewish people,

*out of which we came.

So, we have Moses & if you remember the background, he's a murderer on the run!

So, we don't have a perfect person here by any means. (not about perfection)

And the only job he could get … is taking care of his father-in-law's sheep.

So, he's out in the desert watching the sheep & he approaches what will become the holy mountain, the Mount called Horeb.

And there it says that an Angel of the Lord appeared, flaming out of a Bush. They can't imagine God entering into this ordinary physical world.

So, they create these mediators, called angels.

They can't say ‘God’ could be in a Bush.

But you are free to know otherwise/ because you know God is everywhere,

/which tells us that how we understand God evolves & grows!

but here’s the real point;

-that he looked on & was surprised to see that the Bush, though on fire, was not consumed.

Have you ever had a Moses moment?

In that moment St Francis meets the leper, that’s his burning bush…

~where he heard God say, “Take off your sandals.”

And everything else in his life will come out of that experience.

Think of the people of Ukraine singing their national anthem, I was in tears!

People suffering & going through the most difficult & toughest times of their lives & yet not consumed!

They have something within them that is not just hurt, pain, & suffering.

And so Moses says:

I must go over & look at this remarkable site & see why the bush is not burned!

There’s a saying; that whenever you encounter the Holy or the Divine

*there will always be mystery to it.

It's never something you can explain or rationally understand,

-so here he has this paradox of something burning but not burning up, -

-and as he approaches he hears the voice now from God; Moses, Moses.

So sooner or later I hope in each of your lives you feel in some event or circumstance, God addressing you.

But you have to say ‘present’. I'm here. Because God can't talk to nothingness!

And sure enough, Moses says, “here I am.”

And God says. “Come no nearer, remove the sandals from your feet for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

So it begins w/a sign of respect & reverence & awe…“Remove your sandals.”

And here’s the thing; notice this is happening in nature, out in the ordinary world,

-in the middle of Moses’ job; this doesn't happen in a temple, in church,

it's the middle of ordinary human experience, just like you & I have every day.


If you have sandals or shoes on that means you can walk pretty confidently.

Take your shoes off & go barefoot, & your ability to move around will be really restricted.

And so in the presence of God we take OFF our shoes~

We take off our protective & our aggressive accessories…

~willing to be told what to do & to whom we should go.

I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac & Jacob & Moses does what? He hides his face because he was afraid to look on God.

Yet very shortly, if you follow the rest of the Book of Exodus, the Bible will claim that this is the only man/ in their history /who ever saw God face to face.

And after Moses faces God, he has to put a veil over his face because he's shining People can't look at him

He reflects the mystery that he has experienced, which is exactly what happens to anyone who has a God experience -

-You start becoming like the God you worship, you reflect!

*All holiness is reflected holiness.

Sometimes people ask me what my definition of a Christian is.

Mine might not sound like one, but here it is; A Christian is someone who's met one.

Once you've met an authentically loving, transformed, & holy human being (not perfect) you can't help but let them rub off on you.

You become like them & that's how the mystery is passed on,

-not by catechism classes, that's just to get you started,

-not even by coming here to mass & enduring my sermons.

That's just to get you interested, we hope!

But finally, all knowledge of God is first-hand experience.

There’s a saying: God has no grandchildren… only children. In other words

Each generation has to know for itself the Burning Bush & the voice from the fire…

And here’s the biggie; God says to him, I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt.

Immediately, the experience of God has political, social, economic implications for history.

Today’s readings remind us that God enters into our lives in very ordinary moments!

Even at a fish fry!

What are the burning bushes God has sent your way?

What are the burning bushes God sent you - to help you see differently?

What are those moments or experiences God assured you that God was with you in whatever it was you were going through…

SO, look around in your life.

Is there a burning bush trying to get your attention…

But remember, it’s something not just for you, but as in the lives of Moses to Francis,

~it’s meant to be God’s invitation to you to share in the joy of serving & liberating others.