Wednesday in the Third Week of Lent

Scripture Readings: Dt 4:1, 5-9;  Mt 5:17-19

Those of us from the Woodstock generation might recall these words from a popular song of around 1969: “Teach your children well: their father’s hell did slowly go by. And feed them on your dreams, the ones they picks, [are] the ones you’ll know by.”

I can’t help but wonder if today’s readings didn’t inspire those lyrics. Moses reminds the people of “their father’s hell” as slaves in Egypt and of how they were brought out by the hand of God through the Red Sea. Indeed, the preamble to the Ten Commandments tells them and us that “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of Egypt, the place of slavery.” If we do not remember this saving event there will be no need to read on and comprehend the Commandments.  Their dream, “the one they picks”, was for freedom in their own land where they could serve the Lord God and one another. It’s the one they’ll be known by. Remember this, Moses says, and teach your children.

Parents pass on to their children what they most treasure. What they most treasure has been that which brought them through the hard times in life. Moses is telling them that the Exodus experience is to motivate the people to stay in relationship to the Lord by observing these “statutes and decrees” and teaching them to their children. For the laws to have validity with succeeding generations, they had to know and deeply appreciate the Exodus experience, the experience of needing to be saved and of being saved; the experience of God’s goodness and love. God is known by His deeds.

Living these “laws and decrees” are a deliberate response to God’s deeds. “Deliberate” means they’re a commitment of one’s will. It is a commitment because the laws are drawing us to a destination that we do not yet know. So we need guidance. Jesus, as the fulfillment of the law, is that guidance. We, made in His Likeness, can benefit from that guidance if we share His truth about what is the good.                                                                


Wednesday in the Third Week of Lent