Home Index .. Lenten Meditations Index .. EYE on Iraq Escalation
Readings: Deuteronomy 26:16-19, Psalm 19,
Today Moses calls Israel to obedience to its
covenant with God and the consequent importance
of following God's laws. Meanwhile, Matthew
continues to report Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and
challenges us -- again -- regarding our relationships
with problem people, especially our enemies.
These have been the common themes in the readings since Ash Wednesday. Repent and follow
God's commandments -- specifically, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless,
visit the sick and imprisoned, pray for your enemies, do good to your enemies, be reconciled with
your neighbor. A gentle reminder: ignoring God's laws seems to have no good long-term
outcomes for individuals or societies, although the short-term-instant-gratification-razzle-dazzle-conventional-wisdom often tries to make it seem as if this isn't so. "Slippery slope? What
slippery slope? I don't see any slippery slope, do you? There is no slippery slope here. Trust
me. I know."
These actions seem important to God -- given the huge number of passages of Holy Scripture
which talk about these things. They are also important to the Church, which has selected these
readings for these particular days in our liturgical calendar. The Church is calling our attention
to the nature of our relationship with God, and how that vertical relationship with God is woven
together with our horizontal relationships with other human beings. We are learning that those
relationships should be framed with justice, peace, and reconciliation.
There is no getting away from this. The Word of God is clear, and the will of the Church, as
evidenced by the readings for these days, is no less so. That these are not easy sayings to hear is
obvious, that we are constantly falling short of these standards is reality. What's the bottom line
for Jesus? "So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." Not much room to maneuver
on that one.
Today's psalm brings a personal and emotional perspective. "Happy are they who follow the
law of the Lord", sings the antiphon, a thought repeated in the first words of the psalm, which
continues on to encompass evangelism, catechesis, orthodoxy (learning the just ordinances of
God), and orthopraxis -- ("I will keep your statutes").
Justice and peace is not a marginal issue in Scripture nor is it an optional choice from a buffet of
doctrines and practices up for grabs. Rather, these principles -- and our response, measured by
concrete acts -- are central to God's will for all humanity.
+ For peaceful resolutions to the conflicts of the world.
+ For all who are our enemies.
+ Do some act of service to the poor and marginalized today.