Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent
Book of Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9, Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20, & Matthew 5:17-19
Detail from 'Moses with the Ten Commandments' by Rembrandt, circa 1659.
The recurring theme in today's readings is about following commandments and rules.
The Commandments that Moses shared with his people were the "thou shalt not" kind. They were also the "don't do this; you can't do that, be careful doing this" kind. Entering into a covenant with the Lord meant that you would obey these commands and repent when you didn't follow them to renew the covenant and return to God's good grace. Following God's commandments meant a person could live in the Promised Land (heaven) because he or she had found favor with God and followed His commands.
We remember when the Pharisees pressed Jesus to specify which of the commandments received by Moses was the greatest, and Jesus stated that 'love of God' and 'love of neighbor as one loves themselves' are the basis of the whole law. Equally important, in today's Gospel narrative, Jesus suggests that unless our holiness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, we won't enter heaven.
So, what do we make of this? Rules and commandments are reminders that we should not stray off the course of God's plan for us. We must never misuse God's gift to share our humanness with others and respect our physical environment. We fall into sin by failing to remember to put God first and not being in harmony with His plan. The "thou shall not" and other statutes and decrees are reminders of the ways that we might fall short of the significant restatement of the commandments that the Lord Jesus presented to us—to love God and our neighbor.
During this season of Lent, our prayer is to concentrate on our relationship with God, our love for Him, and all of His creatures. To challenge ourselves when we come out of balance with God's intentions by the way we live our lives to repent our sins by hearing God's voice, who continually calls us to be closer to Him.
Question of the Day: How are the ways you can be an example to others by following His Commandments?
Prayer: "You will show me the path of life, the fullness of joy in your presence, O Lord." (Ps. 16(15):11)