Reflection on the Daily Readings for 7/24/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture for Friday of 16th week. Exodus 20:1-17. Psalm 19:188.8.131.52.
Matthew 13:18-23. Lectionary # 399:
Covenant is one of the major themes and golden threads that run throughout
the whole of the Bible. We learn about them in the covenants of the Hebrew
Scriptures and they then shed light on what Jesus is talking about in the
covenant that he brings to us each day through his words, his actions, and
the sacraments that emanate from them–especially Baptism and the
Eucharist. What Moses experiences in Exodus in the event that takes place
on Mount Sinai is a theophany of the glory and greatness of God. This leads
to the Mosaic covenant with the Israelites and confirms and renews the
other covenants made to Abraham and the patriarchs.
There are definite formulae that make up the covenant of the Hebrew
Scriptures. One of the requirements is to live up to the stipulations of
the covenant and to be faithful to the greater one who has made covenant
with us. God is the greater one and his covenants demand our observing of
the commandments and other precepts of the revelatory words of God whether
given to us at Sinai or at the Last Supper in the covenant of Jesus’ love
commandments. When we live out our covenant with God as a community of
faithful people then we experiene the loving-kindness of God and God’s
presence in our lives.
The Psalm response captures this spirit of living out our covenant with
God. “Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.” God’s words are
automatically effective. Words are not just articulations of sound with a
meaning attached to them when God speaks them they are reality in the realm
of God. They are our path to life with God.They are active and effective,
not passive and passing. The word of the Lord endures forever. By
observing the words and commandments of God makes us people of the covenant
made with God. We taste and see how good the Lord is as Psalm 34 tells us.
Truth is God’s reality as expressed in the revelation we have in both
testaments. We come to realize then that God’s commandments and laws of
love are not impossible, nor merely ideals. They are life-giving realities
that push us on toward bringing the kingdom of God. As our Psalm
expresses it so well, “The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the
heart; the command of the Lord is clear, enlightening the eye.” Yes, Lord,
you do have the words of everlasting life. Amen.