1st Saturday of Lent
Deuteronomy 26: 16 – 19; Ps 119; Matthew 5: 43 – 48
Jesus’ relationship with the Beloved Disciple is one of the most tender affection and, it seems to me, that it is foreshadowed in the relationship of God with Moses. In the conclusion of the Book of Deuteronomy it is said of Moses: Since (his death)…”then no prophet has arisen in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face…”
But God’s merciful love was not given to Moses alone by any means. In the reading for today Moses reminds the people of their covenant with God, of their obligation to observe the Lord’s statutes and decrees with all their heart and with all their soul. This wholehearted response flows from God’s wholehearted choice of them as His people – a choice that exceeds our understanding because it comes from God’s wisdom, an infinite, perfect wisdom.
Moses, the voice of the Book of Deuteronomy, states it most clearly: “And today the Lord is making this agreement with you: you are to be a people peculiarly His own, as He promised you.” It is this revelation that marks the whole life of the people of Israel – their manner of life must always reflect the intimate relationship between the Lord and them.
In the fullness of time another voice appears, one that speaks with an authority that comes from His divinity, from His very nature whereas Moses’ authority was a gift of God. When Jesus proclaims, “Your heavenly Father…makes His sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and unjust”, He speaks from a knowledge He has had from all eternity – a knowledge that flows from Father to Son in the Holy Spirit, in a word, He speaks of Himself.
God’s love is all encompassing. To live in our world is to live in God’s love – whether one recognizes that or not. As His sons and daughters, people of faith we are called to live this love in thought, word and deed. To believe in God is to obey – these cannot be separated – belief without obedience is really not belief. Belief without love for others, for self is not belief either.