by Sister Ann Rehrauer
The refrain from Psalm 19 runs through all three readings for this Third Sunday of Lent: "Lord, you have the words of everlasting life."
In the reading from the book of Exodus, we hear God's life-giving words to Moses and to the people of Israel in the form of the Ten Commandments.
While we tend to resist mandates and the limitations that external laws place on us, these "words of life" are not really coming from the outside. Instead, if we look carefully, each commandment is an expression of a basic sense God has planted within us. In order to be truly human and in healthy relationships with others, we need to be trustworthy and generous, to honor those who gave us life, and to respect the life and rights of others. To violate these laws is not an action outside ourselves, but it is to erode the very fiber of who we are. Each time I act with less than integrity, I am less of the person God created me to be.
In Paul's letter to the Corinthians, he notes that Jews and Greeks alike are looking for words of life. The Jews asked for signs that Jesus' message was truly a word that would bring them life and Greeks sought words of wisdom to bring them life.
But because the words and signs Jesus used were different from what people expected, they missed the life-giving message that suffering and sacrifice have positive value in life. And so Jesus' words became stumbling blocks for them.
In cleansing the Temple, Jesus gave both signs and words of life. The old will be destroyed and God will no longer dwell with us within a Temple building, but in the very person of Jesus.
This Lent you and I also look for life-giving words. Open minds and open hearts are needed on this journey so we don't miss the message.
Thanks, Sr Ann, for reminding me the power of Jesus's words "Lord you have the words of everlasting life!"
Thank you, Sr. Ann, for a wonderful, thought-provoking commentary. Sometimes we forget God is in all of us and because of that we have been given the wisdom to make right choices.
Thanks, Ann, for the 'fresh' words you've used to give a new face to words that we've grown so accustomed to, they no longer speak clearly.