Daily Reflection
March 26th, 2000
Larry Gillick, S.J.
Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

The Third Sunday of Lent
Exodus 20:1-17 or 20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17
Psalms 19:8-11
1 Corinthians 1:22-25
John 2:13-25

"Whatever happened to the Ten Commandments?"  Well today they are back in full array.  They deserve a prayerful consideration more than our saying that we have heard that already.  We will hear God's wisdom which befuddles our human strategies.  These ten ways of relating with God through living, are totally inefficient and not in keeping with the "times". 

We might ponder how the promoters of our "times" might rewrite these commandments.  "Do not have other God's besides the ones you create for your own worshipping."  "You shall not take the name of the Lord at any time lest you be thought a fanatic or else to emphasize a point of argument which would be weak without its use."  "Keep the day of the Lord full of distractions, lest you be faced with the holiness of the empty."

It might be helpful for us to rearrange God's laws to make them more practical and respectful of our selfishness.  At the heart of the Ten Commandments is the remembering of God's love for the people of Israel.  "I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery."  In return God is telling the people how to reverently respond and, by the way, how to live peacefully and reverently with one another.

Today's gospel is often used as a proof that Jesus was really human, because He was angry.  That  makes anger the chief aspect of what is human.  No!  Jesus was respectful and reverent for the sacred and that is what it is to be human!  He tipped over the tables of efficiency and productivity in the very place where faith and hope in promises are remembered and celebrated. 

I personally visited the church in Paris, the Sacra Coure, which is dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament.  As we climbed the steps of Monte Marte all kinds of sellers were inviting us to worship at their altars of plenty.  When we arrived at the front door of the church, we found venders selling wind-up pigeons which flew around a little while.  Inside, the tourists were celebrating being tourists and I began remembering today's picture of Jesus being very human by being zealous for the sacred.

Paul says it well in today's second reading, "For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength."  The sacred takes faith and time and reverence.  The "wind-up pigeons" take no time, nor faith, nor sensitivity.  We are tourists in the sacred places of life and we celebrate being tourists by keeping holy every day, reverencing mother and father as well as holding as sacraments the men and women and all living things in the temple of creation.

Ten Commandments, but one law, there is one God and none of us is it.  One law only, receive as holy gifts even the "wind-up pigeons" as invitations to be grateful for all of life.  Love is not a strategy, but a way of living God's one, old and new, commandment.

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