Deuteronomy 4: 1, 5-9 “…However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”
Psalm 147: 12-13, 15-16, 19-20 “…He has proclaimed his word to Jacob, his statutes and his ordinances to Israel. He has not done thus for any other nation; his ordinances he has not made known to them.”
Mathew 5: 17-19 “…’Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of theses commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
Feast of Saint Cyril of Jerusalem – (315?-386) St. Cyril was well educated and became a priest and later a Bishop. He taught Catecheses during the Lenten season to those entering the Church. He lived during a difficult time in the Church History, and he spent half of his episcopate in exile. The Arian heresy was being fought; in this belief, Christ’s Divinity was challenged, and thus the whole of Christianity. St. Cyril was believed to be caught up with the Arianism, but was later vindicated by the people of his own time, as well as later when in 1822 he was declared a Doctor of the Church.
Now that we are about half way through the Lenten season, and God has or should have our attention, the Church puts in front of us a discussion of the commandments. We heard each commandment read on Sunday, from the Book of Exodus. And in today’s readings from God’s Love Letters, in both Deuteronomy and Matthew, the Church emphasizes their importance. As I was reflecting about the commandments, I realized I don’t really hear people talk about them anymore. You hear people talk about our nation’s laws, but not about God’s laws. Like the people back then, even though they were closer in time to the event of Moses receiving the Commandments on two stone tablets, they too had to be reminded of their value in maintaining good world order. These were the rules of life’s engagement that focused on God first and then on Neighbor.
Generation after generation is reminded of their importance. With hindsight we saw the people in biblical times, fall and get back up many times; people conquering people, taking all their possessions, including their land. But God was faithful in restoring their wellbeing when the people were faithful to God. I couldn’t help but draw a parallel to our times today. It is a great reminder that faithfulness to the Word, will bring us back from our struggles today as well. There were two important lines in Deuteronomy today, about these laws. One if we keep God’s Commandments, people will look on us as being wise; and two we are to be sure to pass them on to our children and to their children. Thankfully, we have the Commandments today, as each generation has done just that and passed them down to us.
Let us spend some of our listening today, reflecting on these simple rules again; rediscovering their power to transform us into wise beings of Love. Jesus says “Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.” (Matthew 5:18)
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