A wonderfully encouraging image while facing the challenges of the corona virus. Thirst was an existential threat to the Israelites, just as the virus is threatening the life of many today. ‘Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.’ (Exodus 17:6) And as a consequence, water restored the physical and spiritual health of the community. We need this ‘water’, this divine sustenance of our life. We need to get strengthened and stay positive, and brave. Just as the Israelites got strengthened to face the next challenge, the army of Amalek. They had not been able to win if not strengthened by the living water; the presence of their God.
The second part of the story is equally relevant. In the battle against Amalek’s army, there are ups and downs. Moses extends his arms in blessing in order to give support to the fighters. ‘Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed.’ We need a divine support in our own fight against the epidemic. Civil authorities, local governments, healthcare workers, the affected, all need this divine sustenance – to stay strong, positive and compassionate.
Giving this support is the function of our churches, through its set prayers in the morning and evening prayers, and in the Eucharist. This praying presence is like that of Moses. It is unseen, remains hidden – but is a vital support. This image confirms the importance of our churches being kept open for prayer. The Eucharist, even if in a private mass, on Sundays must be uninterrupted. Even if Christians have to find different ways of connecting to this ‘Mosaic’ existential centre. But Moses' hands grew weary, so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.’ (Exodus 17:11-12)
On the Feast of Saint Joseph, we should not miss the appreciation of the work of the saints, who, do the same work of intercession – at God’s throne. Divine Presence, help our efforts!
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..