26Mar 26th March. Wednesday in Week 3 of Lent


26th March. Wednesday in Week 3 of Lent

1) Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9

(Belonging to God’s people is a privelege, implying responsibilities, and a wonderful destiny.)

So now, Israel, give heed to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. See, just as the Lord my God has charged me, I now teach you statutes and ordinances for you to observe in the land that you are about to enter and occupy. You must observe them diligently, for this will show your wisdom and discernment to the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and discerning people!” For what other great nation has a god so near to it as the Lord our God is whenever we call to him? And what other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today?

But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children

Gospel: Matthew 5:17-19

(The spirit that Jesus both taught and lived by, embodies and deepens the best features of Deuteronomy)

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Deuteronomy, the book of Fidelity

Deuteronomy reminds us that laws do not exist for their own sake, but as a way of showing our love and loyalty to God. This fifth book of the Bible is not so much a “second law” (as Deuteronomy means in the Greek) but a set of fervent homilies centred on some basic, inspirational lessons. It frequently returns to the idea of “today” as the moment when we receive the law from the Lord and make our response to God. Nothing is important except responding to God with love. “Therefore, you shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words which I enjoin on you today” (note the key word “today”).

Jesus turned often to the book of Deuteronomy to express his own response to life. It was clearly among his favourite texts, with its twin focus on compassion towards our neighbour and on devotion to pleasing God each passing day. Whether in the temptation scene (Matt 4:1-11) or in answering the questions about the first and greatest law (Mark 12:28-34), Jesus replies with words from this book. Jesus’ message resonates with the core attitude of Deuteronomy; it spoke to his ideals more than any other book in the Bible. In this light we can appreciate Jesus’ words: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them.”

When our own Book of Life is fully written, will it also be well steeped in fidelity and love?