This Lent does seem to be flying by very quickly! We have already thought about Jesus’ temptations in the desert (the first Sunday in Lent) and last week we encountered the transfigured Jesus on Mount Tabor. This week we can pause and take a breath for a moment as our Scripture readings invite us to reflect about two, intimately related things at the very heart of our faith. We are asked to think about our ongoing journey of conversion; that is how our whole life is a project of growing in our relationship with God. However, we also realize afresh how that relationship with God leads us to being “spiritually fruitful.”

Our First Reading (Exodus 3: 1-8, 13-15) tells of an amazing encounter between Moses and God: an encounter that changes Moses’ life forever and also will change the whole destiny of God’s chosen people.  Notice how Moses is just going about his daily business, tending the flock of his father-in-law Jethro. He then notices something unusual: a bush on fire and yet it is not consumed by flames. Moses’ curiosity is pricked and so he goes to investigate further. God calls Moses by his name from the burning bush and a conversation between God and Moses ensues.

Notice too that Moses does have some questions or worries: it is a true conversation or dialogue with God and not a monologue! Finally, God even reveals to Moses His name. Two things are important here. The first is that Moses’ conversation with God is also part of his conversion to accepting God and then doing God’s will. (Not for nothing are our two words conversation and conversion closely related!) And when God reveals His Divine Name, He is also entering into a deep relationship with Moses. As with our own time, so in the time of Moses, knowing a person’s name was not just a simple thing; it meant that the person had revealed something more intimate about themselves that then invites a close relationship with them.

As we know, Moses went on to be a true leader and an instrument of God’s will. Moses also grew in that special, close relationship with God. Not only this: like the fig tree that Jesus refers to in the Gospel (Luke 13: 1-9), Moses was truly fruitful. Both with Moses and with the parable of the fig tree, we also notice that God is patient and caring. He helps those spiritual fruits finally come about. What is more, God does not make instant judgments, as with the two incidents Jesus refers to in the Gospel.

As Psalm 103 tells us “the Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in kindness.” Moses, like any human being, is created by God to be true to his human nature. And what is that human nature? It is quite simple really: to love and to serve God and neighbor; to know what God wants of us and then to do it and to be it. This call to be fruitful is often a very personal one. Moses had his special calling and job to do; that is how God asked him to be fruitful. The same, of course, is true for us.

Our readings give us a pattern of conversation, conversion and of being fruitful. This is crucial for us as we continue our journey of Lent. Lent is very much a season about getting back to basics and to look at our faith with fresh eyes. We are invited to renew our ongoing journey of conversion; especially if that journey has become a bit stale, or if it seems to have lost its way, or if it has become a monologue rather than a conversation. Like Moses, we should still go about our daily business; but let us also be attentive and curious about what God want us to do and to be. Like Moses, God does call us personally, by name.

Let us listen to God’s call and enter into a conversation or dialogue with Him (through prayer, for example). We can talk about our worries and concerns in that conversation. Let us then accept what God asks of us in all the various situations that we meet each day and so be fruitful in those concrete and personal circumstances. Let us also remember that this call to be fruitful is often very personal and particular to us: it is actually how we are to be God’s co-workers, just as Moses was.