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September 2004 

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Moses' sandals




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Moses' sandals
(Exodus, 3)

Moïse In the middle of the burning bush, God showed his presence to Moses by revealing his name, a name of multiple meanings: "I am who I am". But before God asked him: " Remove your sandals because you stand on a holy place". 

Sandals are a protection against the contact with the ground, thorns, stones and bumps. Wherever we go, they protect us from being wounded by the road.
By removing our sandals, we feel more the ground, its telluric energy, its cosmic life. 

adhérer la terre

We feel the street with its violence, its poor or any kind of victims of social exclusion. It is like to be rooted in a desperate society, a world lacking of breath. By removing our sandals, we become vulnerable, fragile, without protection and we become sensitive to others, to their misfortune as well as to their happiness.

ôter les sandales We remove our sandals in sign of respect before entering in a "sacred" space. We step through a threshold: we leave a daily and secular surrounding to enter a sacred one. Once the prayer is finished, we put on our sandals to go back to our secular activities. 

The idea of a sacred thing is a pagan idea. We still have it: the ground is sacred, even war. We make sacred the space reserved for the cult, the temples and their personnel and even the objects can be sacred. All of these receive a code, a specific sign. A world is put apart, separated. We put God, "the Highest", in this sacred environment, keeping for us our planet earth. We have offered bloody sacrifices, human sacrifices to this kind of Moloch-God. Facing the sacred world, we are both fascinated and scared; we are shaking, reduced to nothing.

But some thing has happened to us. At Jesus' death, the veil of the Temple broke in two pieces, from top to bottom, when Jesus put himself in the hands of the Father. He has open a new space: " We went beyond the veil where Jesus went the first among us" (Heb. 6, 19). We have been introduced into the sanctuary as a sacerdotal people.
We should not come back to a pagan point of view on the world and the life. We are within Christ and we got a foothold in a holy place, the one of Jesus. It is known that "in the old time to put a foot on a field or to throw a sandal on it, meant to take possession of a land after concluding a sale" (Ruth, 4, 7).

une terre sainte When Yahweh says to Moses: "Remove your sandals because you are walking on a holy ground" was He not speaking to all men and women who, after Jesus, will enter in a holy life as receiving a new property, a new land? This place is holy for every human being who is without protection and defenseless.  

(Highlights of a homily given by a woman in a Parisian parish)