The reading from the book of Exodus today tells us how Moses’ face was shining when he came down from Mount Sinai. At first he didn’t know that his face was shining and everyone was afraid of him when they first saw him. The scriptures say that the people would not come near him at first, because of this. But, Moses learned that his appearance frightened the people so he covered his face with a veil except when he went in to speak with God. There isn’t anyone else in the bible that regularly conversed with God face to face like Moses did. Is it any wonder that his very appearance was changed from such a personal encounter with God?
People in modern times are a little like that too, though. Really. Have you ever noticed that priests that pray for an hour a day before Jesus in adoration, have a different physical appearance and purity of spirit too? Over time, Christ’s presence changes them and it is a visible change. Their faces shine softly with His light. Their spirit shines from within them. This happens with the laity as well, who adore Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament on a regular basis. You can feel the presence of holiness, not just in their charity and kindness but their very body and spirit seems to have a bit of a different glow about them, than everyone else. There are a few people who claim they have seen a light surrounding a priest when he consecrates the host at the altar during mass, or while putting their whole heart into a homily that they feel strongly about too. Sometimes the religious monks and nuns also have this same glow about them when they teach others about their love for prayer, or the Eucharist too. Love for the Lord can be so profoundly felt that it is visible to those around them, even if they are not aware of it themselves.
An encounter with Jesus should change us too. We should slowly grow over time to be more and more like Jesus, by entering into his presence and simply being with the Lord and allowing the Lord to be with us, in Eucharistic adoration. It needn’t be complicated. Simple prayers and simply sitting in the presence of Jesus, adoring him and soaking up his wonderful, healing love can bring such a deep seated sense of peace to your soul. Why do we go anywhere else? Where else can we find such love, healing and peace than we do with Jesus when we spend time adoring him in the Blessed Sacrament? What is it that keeps us from this treasure that our souls are secretly thirsting for? Shopping? Television? The computer? Yes, we all have jobs and families and chores to do at home, but these things will not completely collapse if we take an hour a week to be with Jesus. In fact, we will probably be much better able to handle the stresses and problems of our lives if we just make time to spend with the Lord. We find time for the things that really matter, and Jesus matters.
This leads us on into today’s gospel. Jesus explains to his disciples what the most valuable thing in life is, that is worth pursuing. He told his disciples that “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls; on finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.”
Jesus also explained in the gospel of Luke that “the kingdom of heaven is within you”. Some translations say that “the kingdom of heaven is among you” and both translations fit very well with today’s gospel. The kingdom of heaven is already here among us, but you have to find it within you. The joy already exists within you. It is buried deep inside of us and through prayer and the sacraments, we can uncover this joy. A deep, personal, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ is like a secret joy that burns within us. Love for Jesus and his love for us, forms a bond of love that burns so brightly within us that it is visible to others, a little bit like Moses in the first reading today. The light of true love can not be hidden and it does not remain a secret either, but is shared with others so that they can discover this joy for themselves as well.
This deep, genuine joy is not superficial and it does take eliminating many of the things that distract us from a life of prayer and service to others, before we can uncover the joy that only Christ can bring us. The challenge is how to simplify our lives and reduce the noise and distractions so that we can hear the voice of the Lord deep within us, and allow him to transform our lives a little more each day. Moses again sets a good example for us, in how he took the time to regularly visit God face to face. We have this same opportunity for prayer today, in front of all the tabernacles and adoration chapels in the world, where Jesus awaits us.