March 3, 2021
Our first reading is Exodus 20:1-17 where God gives the 10 commandments to Moses. Each of us is somewhat familiar with them, in fact, a few of us can even remember some and then there are those of us who can rhyme off all 10. Regardless, if we spend some time with them we may feel that they are rather negative, with many: “Thou shall nots”! Perhaps we can reframe them from restrictions to opportunities to be ceased with joy and enthusiasm. So today…
- How can I make God more the centre of my life?
- How can I improve my relationship with the Lord?
- How can I use God’s name in ways that gives God glory and praise?
- How can I make Sunday special in my relationship with God?
- How can I show my parents love and respect?
- How can I show love and respect for all life?
- How can I deepen my covenant with my spouse?
- How can I better respect what is mine and what belongs to others?
- How can I make the truth a greater priority?
- How can I be more grateful for and use better the things that I have?
Then comes Jesus and we know what he does with the Hebrew 613 mitzvot, i.e., commandments and the 10 commandments. A lawyer comes to him and asks:
“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
There is a radical simplification for Christians. Jesus offers the “Coles Notes” of commandments to us. However, even though Jesus keeps it simple for us, it is possible for us to convolute and distort what Jesus taught in such a way that the heart of his message becomes lost. That is where today’s Gospel reading (John 1:13-25) comes in: the cleansing of the Temple. Lent provides you and I with a wonderful opportunity to do “spring cleaning” in our lives. Just as the animal sellers and money changers did not come to be in the Temple with malice as the intention, so too we gather “stuff” in our lives with good intentions that eventually need to be purged.
So this Lent let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us sort out the “stuff” of our lives and prioritize what is really important. We may already have a head start in this by the pandemic providing us with more time to reflect. Regardless, let us use the lens of the 10 “How can I’s…” and the 2 greatest commandments of Jesus to reorient ourselves and to come back to God with all our hearts this Lent.