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Engaging the Word: Sunday, March 8th


1st Reading: Exodus 20: 1-17
Responsorial: Psalms 19: 8-11
2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 1: 22-25
Gospel: John 2: 13-25

Wouldn’t The Ten Big Words of Advice be a little friendlier that The Ten Commandments? It is my understanding that in a way, The Ten Big Words of Advice is a little bit better translation of the original Hebrew. In fact, in Catholic circles the list has long been referred to as the Decalogue, i.e. the ten words. The term commandments also seems to miss the point that these are ten truths that you can’t escape. If they are like laws, then they are laws like the laws of physics. You really can’t break the law of gravity. You can either recognize it and live accordingly, or you can deny it and walk off a cliff falling to your death.

So here is one take on the Ten Big Truths:

  • Get real – there is only one Ultimate Reality – don’t kid yourself that any creature is the Creator – if you do, it will only mess you up
  • Don’t abuse reality – you can attempt to grab ahold of the power of Ultimate Reality and use it for your own advantage – in the end that’s only going to create misery and not going to work out for you
  • Take a break – take time to be grateful for creation and the Creator – think about things – you’re not made to operate on autopilot, purely on instinct thoughtlessly moving from one thing to the next – you’re a free and rational creature made to receive and share love – stop and small the roses
  • Remember that we all have a common Creator who has loved all of creation into existence – we are all related and loved by our Creator – honoring our fathers and mothers is more than honoring our parents; it’s honoring the whole of creation
  • The Creator is on the side of existence, on the side of life – we should be too
  • Don’t mess up a good thing with things that don’t belong – don’t spoil the soup
  • Stealing does not add to joy – we are made to cooperate with the Creator in making something new – stealing adds nothing and uses up energy that could have been used to add to the wonder of creation and the glory of God
  • Trying to obscure reality is a waste of time and never really works out
  • In desiring the love that has been given to another one misses out on the unique love meant to be received – the desired love can never be truly had and what love might have been received is lost
  • In desiring the gifts and talents of others or the fruits of their labors one obscures one’s own unique gifts and talents and forfeits the fruit that their employment would otherwise produce.

So in this week’s Gospel reading Jesus is upset because: the moneychangers in the temple have made money their god (I), and they’re taking advantage of God’s creation and the temple meant to celebrate God and God’s gift’s (II), and they’re not stopping to think but simply allowing their false god to govern their lives (III), and they’re taking advantage of their brothers and sisters (IV), and in living only in the material moment they kill their eternal lives (V), and their whole activity in the Temple is an adulteration (VI), and driven by greed and believing in a zero-sum game they forego creating anything new with God (VII), and they are lying to themselves and others about the truth (VIII), and desiring what others have received or produced they are missing out on what has been given to them (IX and X).
So, Jesus’ message is get real and stop kidding yourself. Believe that God is God. Celebrate the unique gifts of God by receiving the love offered through them and sharing that love with all the world. As we continue our Lenten journey, let’s remember that God is God and we’re made for love.

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