Wednesday of the Third Week in Lent
(Deuteronomy 4:1.5-9; Matthew 5:17-19)
When Judge Roy Moore of Alabama was prohibited by the federal court from displaying the Ten Commandments in his courtroom, he brought the Commandments to the people. He hauled around a two and a half ton granite monument with the Ten Commandments inscribed. In his meanderings he argued that the Decalogue forming the basis of law has a place in a government forum. It is a similar message to what we hear in the Scripture readings today.
In the passage from Deuteronomy Moses exhorts the people to observe the whole law which is based on the Ten Commandments. Jesus says in the gospel that he will not subtract an iota from that law but means to fulfill them. In the following section of the Sermon on the Mount he shows that self-sacrificing love is necessary to establish full justice.
At times the Ten Commandments seem like rules for children. However, we must recognize the different levels -- most often hidden – to which they are applied. For example, the Fourth Commandments not only admonishes us to obey our parents in our youth but to care for them in their old age. It further requires us to comply with the laws of the land and to contribute to the common good. Read properly, the Ten Commandments anticipate the whole natural law which well serves as the basis of positive laws decreed by the state.