Year B: 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Deuteronomy 6: 2-6
The First Reading takes us back to the origin of the Scripture which Jesus and the scribe shared - back to the time of Moses as the Law was being laid before the people.
Like any constitution, those creating it have a vision and see the potential for the group - or nation - they are founding. They believe in the future and inspire others to believe in it too. Moses knew the failings of the people gathered before him - but he also had a sense of their future - a future built on the cornerstone of love.
The Law was to set the people apart and provide a framework for their future lifestyle. The Law - governing worship - hygiene - food - would ensure the health and well-being of the community and bring prosperity through the generations.
Underpinning the Law was one simple precept: to love God with the whole of their being. Without that foundation, the Law would merely be a rule book and become a burden rather than the blessing it was intended to be.
This was a radical departure from many of the religions of that era. Other gods might demand sacrifices and rituals in order to allow rain to fall and crops to grow but there was no suggestion of humans having a living relationship with them.
Through Moses, the Hebrew people met a God whom they could love and honour. They had seen the great things God had done in bringing them out of slavery in Egypt and his faithfulness during their time in the wilderness. This was a God who took a personal interest in their well-being. The sacrifices he asked were not to be empty, external rituals but expressions of an inner disposition of love and gratitude. The Law was not simply to be a book that people read and observed but something that was to be written on the hearts of the people.
What does it mean for me?
© 2006 Wellspring