Monday, March 13, 2017
Do not abandon, do not cut, do not steal, or cheat or lie, do not hold back, do not bear, do not take, or curse or go. Do not, do not, do not. In the Old Testament, we hear litanies of what we ought not do. There are positive commandments woven throughout Leviticus – Love your neighbors as you love yourself. I am the Lord, (see Leviticus 19:1-18) – but the majority of God’s commandments are negative warnings. The Old Testament God gives us a dark image of our relationship with God. Jesus brings a light to this darkness as the incarnation of God’s Word.
Matthew records Jesus’ words: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and the most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ The whole Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets depend on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
We continue our Lenten journey and know that as Jesus grew in the Jewish tradition, he moves away from the negative and toward the positive. We might follow this example today as we reflect on our social, religious and political leaders who present their images of the world to us.
Do they – and do we – focus on the darkness? Or do they – and do we – focus on the light? And what does Jesus call us to do in response?
When we use the scripture links today to compare varying translations of these verses, we begin to find answers to these questions.