March 11, 2015
(Third Wednesday of Lent, B)
Moses spoke to the people and said: “Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live,” Dt 4:1, 5-9
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” “. . . whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” Mt 5:17-19
I remember my dad teaching me how to drive on his souped up, stick shift Chevy.
There were so many things we had to remember . . .
– Remember your turn signal.
– Stop at the stop signs and lights.
– Don’t forget to push in the clutch when you want to change gears.
– And ever so slowly, let the clutch out while giving it some gas at the same time, in order to get moving. And if it wasn’t done perfectly, that car would stall on the spot. For us, that was quite a trick, especially on the hills of North Jersey.
– And of course, there was always that most important Rule: to watch for the other cars. It seemed like the list was endless.
Having now had to teach my own kids how to drive, I can truly understand my dad’s motivations:
Number one: we didn’t want our kids to get hurt or killed in an accident.
Number two: we didn’t want to have to deal with expensive repair bills or insurance costs, if they did have an accident – so DON’T have an accident!
And number three: well, it was just the law, and we didn’t want our own kids breaking the law and getting in trouble for something we didn’t teach them about.
Funny, after all that, I still remember that fender-bender on my first solo day out. And, as clear as yesterday, that first encounter with a speed trap, not much later.
In today’s Scriptures we have two dads teaching us the importance of following the Rules of Life. And it’s pretty much for the same reasons our parents had, in teaching us to drive:
Love, Cost and Responsibility!
Moses had been with those Israelites, through what may have seemed like an eternity . . . From the arguments with Pharoah, to the crossing of the Red Sea. From feeding them with manna, to getting water from a rock, and wandering in the desert for 40-years, these people became his beloved children.
And now Moses had the responsibility of making sure that they learned and obeyed what He taught, what God taught – through the Ten Commandments. It was all those details, just like when we learned to drive. And it was all about love and cost and responsibility.
And then some 1300-years later, Jesus comes along, and teaches the people that – the most important Rules are: to Love God and to Love our neighbor. So the people may have been wondering, “What about all those other rules.”
You know, after we got a few weeks and months under our belts, – driving, out in the real world, our dads didn’t remind us every time we borrowed the car keys, to stop at the stop signs, and push in the clutch, and watch for the other drivers . . .
No! All he would say, was to “BE CAREFUL!”
And that didn’t negate all those other rules. It just put them all together in a short statement . . .
“Our Heavenly Dad Loves us.”
And He only wants to have us together with Him forever. That’s all! And that’s why we have some rules. They’re just our little reminders of His Love for every one of us.
And then, Jesus paid the Cost.
So we don’t have to worry about repairs or insurance. All we have to do is follow the rules.
And those rules now include, answering His call to pass-on that Love to every person we meet. It’s our Responsibility.
Love, Cost and Responsibility.
They’re ours to receive and they’re OURS to Give!
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