Moses, hearing the voice of the LORD from the burning bush, said to him,
“When I go to the children of Israel and say to them,
‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’
if they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?”
God replied, “I am who am.”
Then he added, “This is what you shall tell the children of Israel:
I AM sent me to you.”
God spoke further to Moses, “Thus shall you say to the children of Israel:
The LORD, the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob,
has sent me to you.
This is my name forever;
this my title for all generations.” (Exodus 3:13-15)
Today’s Old Testament reading is a gift, a great invitation to meditate on the fullness of the reality of God—to wade about in the most fundamental of mysteries, equal to or even beyond those of the Incarnation and the Resurrection as we contemplate what it means for God to tell his creature, “I AM” and “This is my name forever.”
I AM: the three-letter title encompassing every fact, known and unknown, everything that is real, even everything about which we are mistaken, because I AM penetrates all things, even what we get wrong, even what we stubbornly refuse to correct in our own knowing because we prefer our own thoughts and imaginings and the more convenient “truths” we want to embrace.
Because I AM lives within our synapses.
I AM resides within the molecular structure of our brains, and within all of the realities that shape us and our thinking, and all of our processes, which means I AM is there, leading us to every potential correction if we only dare permit it.
I AM belongs to our knowing, and our unknowing.
I AM is atomic, not just residing in every atom—and the spaces between them—but powering them, driving them forward, always toward what is true, whether we stop for truth or bypass it.
I AM, not simply extant in each molecule within us and outside of us, but encasing the reality of them.
I AM, within every facet of creation, making all things holy through simply being, sanctifying all things through Incarnation, through the very touch of the Christ upon all things through one intentional act given assist by John, the Baptizer.
I AM, baptized. And through submission and submersion of the very Incarnation of the Christ—who IS—all things are thus increased, enhanced by what has been made present within everything.
The water flows through the Jordan, through the Sea of Galilee, into the fullness of creation, and now the water is holy with I AM, and the trees and the flowers and the gardens and vegetation are imbued with I AM, and the animals and the people drink and bathe and subsist and are sustained through the sanctified and tangible element that has been both created and sacramentalized by I AM, all without the conscious reckoning of it by things living, even unto the day.
I AM, everywhere.
I AM, everything, even in what is manufactured, even in what is misused.
I AM, why everything, and everyone, matters.
“The world is charged with the grandeur of God,” wrote the great Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins. So it is. Charged with the reality of I AM come among us, physically touching our world, subtly changing it—changing us—by wedding heaven to earth in a million ways, some known, some unknown, some prophesied about, some unexpected.
I AM, continuing today, in every place where the water has been. In the wheat and grapes that become bread and wine and then food for the whole world.
I AM, the purest of foods, first watered, then harvested, then formed by intention, then willed into presence by the Presence himself, as called upon by mere creatures.
I AM, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Eat of I AM enfleshed. Drink of I AM, poured out and flowing daily, from crystal clear droplet, to wine, to Living Blood.
I AM, the water in your glass, the water in our oceans, the water in which we bathe our children.
I AM, what becomes vapor, collected in the clouds and then delivered back to us in the rain.
I AM, among the ground that is watered, the trees that are fed, the leaves that breathe the air through which I AM has passed.
I AM, exceeding all creation.
I AM, within the compress pressed to a feverish brow.
I AM, the very sweat drawn from our labors.
I AM, amid the hand that wipes it away.
I AM, concerned about you, concerned about me.
It’s true. Articulated from the very Being of I AM to Moses. In fact, the very next word of the All-in-All:
“Go and assemble the elders of Israel, and tell them:
The LORD, the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
has appeared to me and said:
I am concerned about you . . . (Exodus 3:16)
I AM is concerned, and the truth of it is logical, given evidence by the Incarnation, by the immersion of Christ into all things. Eternal in the water. Eternal in the Flesh. Eternal in the Blood.
I AM, concerned about us. Attentive to us. Reactive for us.
Let the comprehension that I AM is always present become the foundation of all of our prayers of thanksgiving.
Let the reality of his expressed concern for us be the basis for all of our supplication, because I AM is all truth, and therefore, completely trustworthy.
Everything rendered more holy than we can even imagine, because I AM is always present.