Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent
(Deuteronomy 4:1.5-9; Matthew 5:17-19)
Citizens rightly give prominence to its legislative bodies. These institutions -- whether national, regional or local – enshrine the wisdom of their nation. They should see in the laws which the legislatures produce their values promoted and their hazards limited. In today’s readings the worth of good laws is underscored.
Moses reminds Israel of the greatness of God’s law. He tells the nation that its wisdom will distinguish those who heed it from others peoples. Indeed, he says, if duly followed, Israel’s Law will make the nation the envy of all others. Jesus seconds this recommendation. As groundbreaking as the Kingdom of God which he is inaugurating is, it is based on the Mosaic Law. The Ten Commandments, he implies, should be followed to the letter.
We should likewise see the Ten Commandments as the basis of our law. They are not specifically religious but ground the esteem for individuals, cultures, and relationships that a strong society requires. Of course, at the same time we have to recognize that building from the Commandments necessitates just and prudent legislators. We pray that we may choose the best of people as our law-makers.