There seems to be a growing trust in Moses. The people of Israel undergo a transformation; just as Moses is being transformed in the presence of God. ‘And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant.’
‘ Behold, the blood of the covenant!’ The deep-root of our Christian Eucharist is this. The Old Testament people gave their most precious life-source as sacrifice. In the Sacrifice there is a genuine investment of ourselves. This giving of a significant part of ourselves initiates a further dialogue of exchange with God. The more we open, the more he opens up; the more he opens our understanding of his ways.
In our chapel, here at St Augustine’s, the Sacred Heart of Jesus (the statue) makes the nature of the Eucharist, as our sacrifice, visible. The heart of God ‘surfaces’ and becomes visible through the cloth. It tells us the same dialogical nature of knowing God better. God opens up his inside to us; that we might be transformed by this initiative and enter through this gate.
Eating the sacrifice transforms us. We need the Eucharistic Presence just as the Jewry needed time to spend with God at Mount Sinai. ‘And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.’ Eating the Eucharist transforms us into God’s knowledge. God’s glory abode on the Mount of Sinai in order to transform His chosen environment in which he dwells.
In John’s Gospel we see a similar visit which transforms. Jesus visits Jerusalem. ‘Neither did his brethren believe in Him.’ ‘But when his brethren gone up to Jerusalem, then went he also unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.’ ‘And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?’ In a parallel way to our reading above, Jesus must go up to Jerusalem in order to transform the place, people’s responses. His stay, his teaching becomes a Eucharistic Event: he gives and shares wholly his identity, and this ‘Eucharist’ transforms. People will know who he is, or whom they refuse. The interrogation, the questioning about his identity is good. Just like with our statue of the Sacred Heart, God, his Father ‘surfaces’. He pronounces himself in Jesus, overcoming our superficial thinking about him and his ways.
The message of the passage? Here, at Grahame Park, we have to be patient. Time and again, we must perform the Eucharistic Encounter, and let us see, how the Sacred Heart transforms us. And burst open the unknown history of Grahame Park. Just let us wait patiently for the encounters and changes the Lord can bring about ‒ through our hearts.
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..