Readings: Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9, Ps. 147:12-13, 15-16,19-20, Matthew 5:17-19

“Give heed to the statutes and the ordinances which I teach you, and do them; that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, gives you.” (Deuteronomy 4:1)

What makes a society great is not its people but its legal system. In today’s first reading, Moses addressed the people of Israel, saying: “Keep them and do them (God’s commandments); for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’” Our problem is not the existence of thieves (corrupt people) in high places; it is the lack of respect for the Rule of Law. While thieves try to avoid getting caught, our thieves rub it on our faces. Judas Iscariot was too ashamed to face Jesus after his betrayal was exposed. What happens when people do worse things without guilt or shame?

A society self-destructs when people behave like they are greater than the law. Even Jesus Christ (God in human flesh) never claimed superiority over the Law. In today’s Gospel passage, He said: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.” Let us now consider other lessons in today’s readings:

1. We Cheat Ourselves by Disobeying God: When the devil was seeking out the fall of Adam and Eve, he sought to attack the trust and confidence they had placed in God. The devil said: “If you eat this fruit, you will be like God, your eyes will be open,” meaning that God was trying to keep them from enjoying something. In the same way, the devil always tries to make us believe there is something to gain or enjoy from disobeying God. However, the only gain we get from sin is death. (Cf. Romans 6:33). If you lose trust in God (if you think His commands hinder your happiness), you have lost everything.

2. Your Success Depends on Your Obedience: Obeying God may seem hard, but when considering its benefits, we summon the courage to live righteously. This is what Moses teaches us in today’s first reading. “Give heed to the statutes and the ordinances… that you may live and take possession of the land.” God means well to us by giving us the commandments. There is a reward for every act of obedience which far outweighs whatever lie the devil may be promising us.

Someone once said: “Today’s Christians are more concerned about their discomfort than their disobedience.” We fail to realise that we cannot enjoy all He has planned for us without obeying God. Prosperity preachers quote many scriptural passages to make their listeners feel good; they never tell them the truth. Our problem is sin; it is not the size of our seed or our failure to tithe. Repent. Live a good life; you may not be rich overnight. Don’t worry; God knows how to care for his beloved children.

3. Don’t Just Obey, Teach Others: Jesus says: “Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” This means that by obeying the commandments, we indirectly teach others by showing good examples. Whether you like it or not, someone is watching and learning from you. Remember, you are the earth’s light and the world’s salt. Let your light shine. By so doing, you permit others to step out of their darkness.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, increase my trust in you and help me to obey. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Wednesday of the 3rd week of Lent. Bible Study: Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9, Ps. 147:12-13, 15-16,19-20, Matthew 5:17-19).

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu