Moses said to the people: ‘Obey the voice of the Lord your God, keeping those commandments and laws of his that are written in the Book of this Law, and you shall return to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul.
‘For this Law that I enjoin on you today is not beyond your strength or beyond your reach. It is not in heaven, so that you need to wonder, “Who will go up to heaven for us and bring it down to us, so that we may hear it and keep it?” Nor is it beyond the seas, so that you need to wonder, “Who will cross the seas for us and bring it back to us, so that we may hear it and keep it?” No, the Word is very near to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart for your observance.’
Today I am at a Trappistine Monastery in the south of the Philippines for a weekend retreat with people from the local GenSan area and other parts of the country.
Today’s first reading is especially appropriate since it emphasises the nearness of God and this has been a central theme of our retreat.
Given that this scripture is from the book of Deuteronomy, we Christians can claim that in Jesus Christ God is even closer to us than for the writer of this Old Testament passage.
God seemed relatively inaccessible to the people of the Old Testament, and encounters with God seemed to be on God’s terms and out of human control. But in Christ, God lives among us, ready to hear and respond to every person who calls.
Perhaps our problem is that we don’t call on Jesus enough?
Last week’s TIME magazine featured the architect Antoni Gaudi and his beautiful basilica of Sagrada Familia. We know that our Catholic church buildings are places where in a unique and real way God dwells among us. One who enters a church to pray is already actively calling on God. This is enough.
Antoni Gaudi was a holy man and he understood that in designing and building this church he was building a home for God among people.
Take time now, just a minute or two, to ponder the nearness of God to you. You may not feel this, but the feeling is not as important as the fact. Jesus is with you. Call on Jesus. Confidently ask him for what you need this week.