As they reached the threshing floor of Nodan, Uzzah stretched out his hand to the ark of God and steadied it, for the oxen were tipping it. Then the LORD became angry with Uzzah; God struck him on that spot, and he died there in God’s presence. David was angry because the LORD’s wrath had broken out against Uzzah. Therefore that place has been called Perez-uzzah even to this day. David became frightened of the LORD that day, and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?” 2 Samuel 6:6-9
For several weeks now I have felt the Lord in prayer speaking to me about Uzzah being struck dead for touching the Ark of the Covenant. This story was always hard for me to understand. It just seemed so harsh. But over the past few years, as I have felt God speak to me about the Mass, I began to have a larger understanding of what actually happened in this story. Though I am no biblical scholar, and I am open to correction, I want to relay what I feel the Lord telling me in prayer.
Uzzah was the son of Abinadab. The Ark had been in Abinadab’s house. Uzzah would have been familiar with it. David, for his part, would have known how to transport the Ark, it was to be carried by the Priests, the Levites. Not just the Levites, but a specific family of Levites. But when David decided to transport the Ark to Jerusalem, he didn’t follow the instructions God gave. He put the Ark on a cart which Uzzah was driving. When the oxen started to tumble Uzzah touched the Ark in order to keep it steady and God struck him dead. Fear came over David.
It’s worth pondering the Gift of the Holy Spirit called “Fear of the Lord.” It seems we don’t have any these days, and Uzzah, perhaps because of his familiarity with the Ark, had forgotten it too. What I sense happening in this story is a systemic breakdown beginning with the breakdown of proper use of authority and ending with the one who fell under that authority, each having a role and responsibility.
David as the leader who disobeyed God in order to be faster, put the man in his charge in grave danger. When our leaders make decisions that bypass God’s law in order to make things easier, it is the flock that suffers. These things are usually years in the making, so by the time it gets to where we are in time the situation is dire.
Uzzah did something else here that is also worth pondering. He tried to save God. How many times do we try to become the savior when it is not our job to do? It doesn’t mean we must be silent in an injustice, but it does mean speaking to God to discern when and how to act. We can hope in the mercy of God for Uzzah that God knew his intention, but we can also understand that when God commands something, which is always for our good, we would do well to obey. I tend to think that Uzzah’s death was a mercy, for if that had not taken place David would not have paused and perhaps would have strayed even further from God. But we have such a misunderstanding of God’s goodness most of us are unable to see how this could be so. Union with God is better than anything we can comprehend, and it is usually only in death that we have this union. But everything in salvation history is a movement back towards this union.
If we think about the fact that the Ark of the Covenant did not actually contain God but His Spirit hovered over it, but the Eucharist does actually contain God, we should all take great pause at this story. Over the years I have seen Eucharistic abuse reach new heights. The authority has allowed it, and the people, in their familiarity, probably aren’t even aware of it even as they trample Christ. God knows the intention of your heart. My stating all of this is not meant as judgment but observation.
Now, at a time when Fear of the Lord and reverence should increase, what I see happening is the opposite. The Eucharist placed in hands that are fumbling to get a mask off. Particles of Jesus sticking to hand sanitizer. Refusal of Priests and Bishops to distribute the Eucharist in a way prescribed by church law. People who have Fear of the Lord and want to show reverence are called selfish. Instead of reordering ourselves back to the Lord and doing what He asked, we are trying to be our own savior. This almost never turns out well if you read the bible.
What do we expect is going to happen? I have no doubt, no doubt at all, that the intentions are good. God knows it too. But we must ask ourselves, will it strike us dead? And if it does, are our hearts prepared to meet the Lord? We have ignored for so long what the Lord has asked in so many ways. Take time now to examine your conscience. We cannot control others, nor should we desire to, for God does not try to control our free will. But we can look at ourselves and offer our will to God. We can ask God to help us do His will.
For my part I can only be as reverent as I know how. I can only say I will not partake in abuse. But like Uzzah, I cannot save God. How He will choose to save us this time, only He knows. I trust in Him.
As counties now dictate that the Eucharist cannot even be given out, and thus far, we really see no response from the Bishop, we can only get on our knees and pray.
It has always been about the Eucharist. Satan wants to make you think the church is dead and Christ is gone from our midst. But He isn’t. He has been preparing us for such a time as this. He has been making us living sanctuaries. And the Gates of Hell shall not prevail.
Today’s Gospel states, “so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they may also be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one….” John 17:21-22. We have been given God’s glory. Do not be afraid. Go forth and love with a love that is true. We were made for these times. Peace be with you.