In today’s first reading from Exodus God offers His people another covenant. This one is much more personal – the words are His words, carved into stone by His hand, and spoken to each one of us. The covenant with Noah gave us hope after chaos. The covenant with Abraham showed us the extent of God’s love. Through Abraham and Isaac we saw how the father so loved God that he was willing to give his only son – a foreshadowing of the role Jesus would play many generations later. Now, with the Ten Commandments we hear in Exodus 19:5, “I will bestow mercy down to the thousandth generation on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments – my covenant.”
Is this new covenant a new set of restrictions? They are, in fact, a part of a larger collection of laws known as the Covenant Code (Exodus 21-23). But, in reality the Ten Commandments are all about love. John Parsons of Hebrew for Christians has summarized them this way:
1. “I am your only deliverer, the One who loves and chooses you;
2. Love me exclusively;
3. Regard my love as sacred;
4. Rest in me;
5. Honor your life and its history. Do no harm to others:
6. Forsake anger,
7. Abandon lust,
8. Renounce greed, and
9. Abhor lying.
10. Refuse envy.
Know that you belong to me and that you are accepted. Love others as you are also loved.”
In the Mosaic covenant, God swore eternal devotion to his people and they swore their devotion in return.
Consider what Jesus said, in the new covenant, about the greatest commandments – “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind” and to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:36-40). With this Mosaic covenant, God shows us His love and outlines how we can show Him ours.
Have we thought about the Ten Commandments as a covenant of love? Have we considered that they are, as we heard in today’s psalm, “the words of everlasting love?” The third week of Lent reminds us of yet, another covenant God made with His people. This week, our meditation could center on looking at how we live our lives in the love expressed in the covenant made with Moses.
Join us for Stations of the Cross at 7 pm in Church.
Confessions will be heard prior to Stations of the Cross from 6—7 pm in Church.