12 Aug 2015
Moses got to see God face to face; he knew God intimately. And so, in our eyes, did it really matter that he didn’t get to cross over into the Promised Land? After all, he’d already seen the land beyond the Promised Land in his relationship with God. Moses knew God intimately—that relationship is the Promised Land.
And that’s where we’re going. We pray to God, we worship God, we open our hearts to God, we trust God and listen to his Wisdom and guidance all so that, someday, when we die, we can experience to the fullest what we’ve already begun to experience here on earth—the life of heaven, the life of intimate union with God himself.
When we hear about Moses, and how “his eyes were undimmed and his vigor unabated” when he died, we hear of a man fully alive by the Spirit of God. And both in life and in death, he could easily have sung the psalm today: “Blessed be God who filled my soul with fire!” To some extent, Moses had been living in the Promised Land of God’s goodness and mercy long before he died. And, really, that’s what the Lord hopes for us as well.
The Lord wants us to get to the Promised Land of his divine bosom, and (happily) we want the same thing. But the Lord tells us in so many ways: “You don’t have to wait to see the Promised Land. You don’t have to wait to know me intimately.” Christ gives us all sorts of ways to know him and to be loved by him in the here and now as a preview of the glory that awaits us.
The sacraments are, perhaps, the most concrete ways we can know Christ—especially the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation. Christ says, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” When a sinner goes to the confessional, and confesses their sins to God and a priest in a spirit of humility, honesty, and dependence on God, there Christ is in the midst of them; there the Spirit of God’s mercy is present and alive. The sacraments are powerful ways that the Promised Land is open to us.
We don’t have to wait until we die to begin to know the life of heaven; the full life, love and mercy of our God. We don’t have to wait for that, and we shouldn’t. Like Moses, we can begin to know God intimately now, today. And it begins here, at the altar of God, mingling the Body and Blood of Christ with our own. Here at the altar we see a vision of the Promised Land. Here Christ looks at us face-to-face and says, “Come to me, my beloved. Come to me.”