Daily Reflection
March 1st, 2004
Ray Bucko, S.J.
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18
Psalm 19:8, 9, 10, 15
Matthew 25:31-46

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When I was a mere sprout I loved novelty records.  One of my favorites was Prince Buster’s “The Ten Commandments.”  This was back in 1967 – I checked the internet which stores more information more reliably than my own read/write memory. 

Well, the record started “Thou shalt love no man but me”!  That really made me laugh!  I guess growing up in a Catholic grammar school where we would sing about prepositions, times tables, the ten commandments, seven sacraments, twelve apostles, and state capitals made someone singing a modified version of the Top Ten Commandments really tickled me! 

Interesting though that when we think of commandments we think of “shalt nots” – even Prince Buster engaged in that genre in his magnum opus. 

In the school yard of Our Lady Star of the Sea Grade School we would ask each other what we were GIVING UP for Lent—candy, television and the standard Bayonne juvenile one-liner “HOMEWORK.”

But there are more than 10 commandments as we find out in the readings today.  And clearly there are many SHALLS among the SHALT NOTS.

God kicks off with “be holy” and then explains how……  with the nots and with the shalls. 

Jesus recasts the Father’s “be holy” with a set of positive prescriptions; feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger.  Just like God said, in the first reading “love your neighbor as yourself.”

So the commandments are not about not but about yes and not about me (even if you are Prince Buster) but about us—holy relationships among ourselves and with God. 

So as we journey through Lent let us seek for the shalls and not for the nots and put into action this commandment of love.  Let us give to others rather than give up for ourselves. 

Sure beats giving up homework!


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