26 February 2016
26 Feb 2016

Conversion: it touches all

by  Rinaldo Paganelli, scj

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The bush is that reality which burns forever and never gets consumed, and recalls the love of God. This is God Himself. And when God summons Moses to the bush, it is He who in a certain sense “confesses” before the cry of poverty that comes to Him and says: “I have witnessed the affliction of my people… I have heard their cry… I know well what they are suffering”.

God proclaims His purpose, and does so as an already accomplished event; perhaps because it is already well accomplished in His heart because the divine presence in the bush is already the presence of God the Savior in Israel’s history. On hearing the lament God “descends” towards His people and comes down to deliver, “to bring them up” to the land that He has prepared for them, and the truth is presented.

Dt 33,16: The favour of him who dwells in the bush, rests on the head of Joseph.

Mk 12,6: Have you not read in the book of Moses, in the passage about the burning bush, how God spoke to him?


The ancient events in the history of salvation are an “example”, they should not be considered as conclusions in themselves, but powerful enough to describe the universal structure of the human condition and the intervention of God in history. Besides these events “have been written for us”, today, i.e. in this “time” that is inaugurated by the Son of God. Now we can consider and grasp those ancient events in the full light that they receive from the person and teaching of Jesus Christ. Ours is the true “Exodus” from imprisonment to freedom, from evil to new life, and from death to life. Those scriptures are fully present and fully capable of interpreting the personal and collective history, and reveal and give the divine power of salvation that we receive from the power of the Spirit of the Lord.

Dt 9,10: The LORD gave me the two stone tablets written with the finger of God.

Lk 24,44: That everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.

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Two episodes of violent deaths are cited: first, the bloody-thirsty government of Pilate, and another, reported by Jesus Himself: a dramatic accident. Episodes focus on the hypothesis of the link between these events and the faults of those who are overwhelmed. Jesus denies this link and therefore, this naive and trivial interpretation, but uses it as the occasion to announce the event and the gift that He came to bring: the offer of a radical change of life. He promises to ward off the inevitable drama of the imprisoned existence of the mystery of evil and of death, which is well expressed in the parable where we witness the “splitting” of the figure of the master and the judge, and therefore of God himself. The winemaker is Jesus, the Son of God who is sent not to condemn but to save; His love and mercy are able to challenge the situation, to change it, the immutable laws of nature.

Dt 8,20: Like the nations that the LORD is destroying before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God.

Lev 26,38: You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall devour you.


For group and personal reflection:

– What does the God who descends suggest you?

– How do you feel that the Word is realized today?

– Do you live conversion as a duty or as an opportunity?

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