Wednesday of the Third Week in Lent
(Deuteronomy 4:1.5-9; Matthew 5:17-19)
In a touching reminiscence of the Civil War, it is said that Robert E. Lee enjoyed such great rapport with his troops that at the Battle of Gettysburg he rallied the men on the front line. The soldiers, however, held their commander in equally high regard and insisted that he seek protection at the rear. The readings today indicate a similar desire on God’s part to stay close to His people.
In the reading from Deuteronomy Moses urges the Israelites to heed the Lord’s commandments. He reasons that God is worth any effort on their part because He has always shown Himself at hand to help them. Of course, in Jesus God not only shows Himself as near but literally becomes one of the people. He fulfills the Law by giving new commandments which regard the right motivation more than mere external conformity. Even more significantly Jesus brings closure to the Mosaic covenant with the promise of the Holy Spirit. Only with the Spirit’s grace can women and men carry out all of God’s commands.
It may seem like there are a lot of rules and regulations among Christians. In a sense that is true. A child or perhaps a convert will find the “dos and don’ts” about being faithful almost endless. But receptive of the Holy Spirit, we need not worry about following precepts. The Spirit leads us to implicit compliance with God’s holy will.