Third Sunday of Lent Year B 4 March 2018

 

“The decrees of the Lord are truth and all of them just.”

I noticed the proclamation of the new Ten Commandments when travelling on a tram in Melbourne recently. Right above my eyes in the ceiling was a long list of individual visuals with a rather large Red Cross superimposed. I counted and sure enough there were ten items.  Even the modern self- proclaimed secular society cannot remove itself from the ‘ten’ though we seem to be rapidly moving to the old Jewish legalism of over 520 regulations or interpretation of the original ten. I pondered, are we better off today with our prescriptions?

Historically, the giving of the original Ten Commandments was a remarkable intervention by the spirit of the loving God for his people. It followed last week’s story of Abraham and jumps the Exodus account… a new chapter begins; it has its ups and downs, its time of faithfulness and denial. Psalm 105 laments the backsliding:

“But they soon forgot his deeds and would not wait upon his will.”

The same Psalm celebrates the continuing faithfulness of the loving God and His deeds to restore and save the people yet again:

“Then they believed in his words and they sang his praises.”

Jesus gives notice that the same Spirit is coming to deepen the engagement of the loving God with his people in his actions in the temple. Time to move on and take a fresh look at their relationship with their traditions. The loving God was asking them to leave the “temple boat” behind and once again cast out into the deep. Yet again, resistance; but the Spirit found some response. It was difficult to believe in a crucified Christ. We love to hold on to the baggage of our previous lives.

It seems to me that we are in a similar situation not only with the reception of the Vatican II Council, but also in accepting the invitations of the current Pope to implement its directions.

Let us commit to try and be comforted by Paul’s words:

” For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.”

In accepting all the violence that humanity could load upon his shoulders, Jesus chose not to transmit the trauma of the Cross, He was not destroyed but all was transformed with love. The bruised and battered body rose on the third day and remains a most potent sign of the continuing love of a faithful God for his Covenanted people.

That becomes a sign of hope for all generations even in times of, yet again, rattling sabres!

Mons Frank

 

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