||The Ten Commandments - Right Relationship with God and Each Other
I, THE LORD, AM YOUR GOD
This third Sunday
of Lent, we are reminded that Lent is a time to refocus our efforts on being in Right Relationship with God and with each other.
Our first reading (Exodus 20:1-17)
is a listing of the Ten Commandments, given by God himself. It is evidence of a personal, loving God calling his chosen people into a covenant relationship. In the first three, God calls us into relationship with himself as the one, true and only God. In the remaining commandments, God calls us into relationship with each other, in a bond of love and respect - an image of the loving relationship God has with us.
In those days, God delivered all these commandments: "I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers' wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments. "You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain. For the LORD will not leave unpunished the one who takes his name in vain.
"Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. "Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you. You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him."
In our Gospel reading (John 2:13-25)
, we hear the story of Jesus chasing the money-changers out of the temple. His was rightfully angry that the holy dwelling place of his Father was no longer treated with reverence. Jesus used this Passover setting to point to the coming Passover scene when he himself, the true Temple of God, would be destroyed and raised up again in three days
Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, "Take these out of here, and stop making my Father's house a marketplace." His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him, "What sign can you show us for doing this?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews said, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking about the temple of his body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken.
While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing. But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature. He himself understood it well.
In our Epistle reading (1 Corinthians 1:22-25)
, St. Paul presents the paradoxical mystery of "Christ crucified" as the wisdom of God. It is a stumbling block and foolishness for many; for how could the ignominious public execution of one man lead to anything but death and disgrace?
Brothers and sisters: Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.
Developing a right relationship with God is much the same as being in right relationship with our spouse or children. It is a life-long endeavor. It is an exercise in communication - both ways. We must continuously talk to God, as the loving friend and parent that he is, and also learn to listen to God. Coming into tune with God is what happens in prayer. The more we work at it, the better tuned-in we are. Prayer helps us tune out the static of our world and tune in to the frequency of God.
- Click Here to read, reflect and pray on the full readings for March 4, 2017