“The Word from Father Pat” is the name of my bulletin column. I’ll be posting these from time to time.
“Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.”
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I have been enjoying, as I often do, the Scripture readings that we have during Lent.
These readings tell us what it’s all about, with regard to our faith. They tell the story of
our salvation, as God intervened numerous times into human history to guide us, direct
us, and bring us back to him. I am delighted by the message of how persistent God is,
how even when it looked like humanity had gone far away, we still weren’t so far away
that God could not reach us.
Because if that’s the message about us as a people, then it rings true for us as individuals
as well. Sometimes we think that we have missed the boat, or jumped off it, with regard
to faith. Some people think they cannot be loved by God because of who they are, or
more often, because of what they’ve done. And these readings during Lent tell us how
absolutely wrong that kind of thinking is!
Today’s readings tell us about God doing new things in us and around us. Jesus
overturns the money-changers’ tables because that kind of commerce wasn’t necessary in
the new economy of salvation. People didn’t have to buy animals for sacrifice, because
Jesus was to be the sacrifice par excellence, the Lamb who would take all of our sins
And before that, there is the law. The psalmist often sings about how wonderful the Law
is, how other peoples didn’t have gods so wonderful as to provide a roadmap of how
to live in harmony with God and others. We see those ten commandments, which we
learned once, hear about now and then. But the thing is, the commandments are not a
thing of the past: they are the basics of our lives of faith.
So if you haven’t looked at the ten commandments in years, now is the time to re-read
today’s reading (Exodus 20:1-17). If you’ve long since forgotten them, a great Lenten
spiritual practice might be to re-memorize them. If you don’t think they apply to you or
your life, reflect on them, and reflect on whether your life has followed or strayed from
those commandments. Because they are the basic framework for a life of faith.
The first three commandments, as we are taught, deal with our relationship with God.
The next seven deal with our relationship with other people. This mimics the greatest
commandment of all, as Jesus proclaimed it: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with
all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and
your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)
Lent is always a great time to get back to basics; to look at our lives and see if we’ve
forgotten anything we’ve been taught; to reflect on how we have lived our faith and
where we’ve strayed. Because God wants us back. His words are spirit and life. There
is no way we’ve fallen so far that he can’t reach us.
Yours in Christ and His Blessed Mother,
Father Pat Mulcahy