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REMOVE THY SANDALS"...

Thursday of the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Moses, hearing the voice of the Lord from the burning bush, said to him, "When I go to the children of Israel and say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you,' if they ask me, 'What is his name?' what am I to tell them?" God replied, "I am who am." (From Exodus 3:13-20)

During Mass, these past couple of days, I have been recalling a memory from my childhood. I have been thinking about the movie, “The Ten Commandments.” As I recall, it use to air every year on Easter Sunday night. I remember the scene in which Moses, played by Charleton Heston, is standing before the burning bush in the presence of God, and the voice of the Lord says, “remove thy sandals, for you are on sacred ground.” The special effects were nowhere near what they are today, but it was still a powerful moment.

The idea of sacred ground or holy ground has always been a powerful one for me. I sometimes wonder, though, if some people have lost a sense of the sacred in their lives. I know that I sometimes have to consciously stop and remind myself of the sacred.  Areas such as church, prayer, sexuality, how we dress for certain occasions, whether we say “yes sir” or “no Mam” have always been areas of life in which we knew and acknowledged the sacred. But sometimes it seems that we run the risk of being so busy, preoccupied, and maybe even selfish, that we lose a sense of “being on sacred ground” when we are simply interacting with other people. Something as routine as saying “hello” or asking someone how their day is going serves to acknowledge that we value the other person and the moment. Whether it’s an obviously sacred moment, like, being at the family table or being in church, or a routine moment, like brightening the day of the person behind the check-out register, we are given numerous opportunities to consciously acknowledge the sacred nature of everyday life. In doing so, we help others to feel that they are more than just another person, more than just another item on our to-do list.

So, the next time we find ourselves sitting with a friend for coffee, trying to deliberate our way through a staff meeting, or dealing with a difficult person, or the next time that someone chooses to confide in us and share their pain with us, perhaps it would be good to stop and remind ourselves to reverence the moment and the people in it.