At the start of this third Lenten week we really should have a clearer idea not only of whom we are but what we are doing. Before we proceed into any sort of neurotic self analysis about how we are doing it let us see two very specific parts of our divine horizon. These come to us from this Sunday’s

ENTRANCE ANTIPHON. The first encourages us to keep our horizons in focus with “eyes always on the Lord.” The second tells us why – because “he rescues my feet from the snare.” Tuning forks are essential ‘tools’ for all involved in any sort of musical enterprise … even unfinished symphonies.

Recently I came across a scripture commentary entitled

HIS TRANSFORMING WORD (not, I imagine, everyone’s cup of tea but quite challenging.) The author provides us with a telling summary of the Ten Commandments as presented to us in THIS SUNDAY’S OLD TESTAMENT READING [EXODUS 20: 1 – 17. 9a. 10 – 13. 15 – 18]. She introduces her commentary with the simple but profound assertion that “the whole question of the Law of Moses is one of sovereignty: who’s boss?

The answer

WE give to this question is basic to all three of the questions we have posed over the last couple of weeks – WHO? … WHAT? … HOW?

Our author tells us that “the idea of serving one master, bowing before only one God, is an innovation of Judaism in the quest to understand the reality of God. The basic purpose of all our Lenten endeavours is not to prepare us for Easter but, rather, to recapture for ourselves the reality of GodIf this is lacking in us how on earth are we able to accept or understand the reality of the Resurrection?

In my first reading of this section of ‘The Transforming Word’, I was struck by the translation of all the Commandments. In our present context I reproduce one – NO OTHER GODS, ONLY ME! “The first commandment remains primary. If we keep that one, the others fall easily into line.” So the ‘who, what and how’, together with the work on our very own symphony asks an extremely important question. What other gods am I serving? There is a call to recognise those little ‘gods’ which DO fascinate and distract me as they blur the divine horizon as well as my worship of the one God in whom I profess to believe. On Ash Wednesday I heard Saint Paul telling me that NOW is the favourable time. Indeed, Lent is one of the favourable occasions our God offers me. In these weeks I am given an opportunity to confront myself and clearly identify, and admit to, those ‘other gods’ I have brought into my life and which, even to a small degree, are in opposition to the one God I believe in. In the main I accept the sovereignty of my God but there are other times I serve the god who makes the immediate and more attractive offer?! I am, with some regularity, forgetful of the fact that I have to keep my eyes on the Lord – and, as a result, I set myself up to have my feet caught in the snareIn general terms it is the Ten Commandments which help us to keep our eyes on the Lord.

A basic element of our problem is intimated by Saint Paul in TODAY’S NEW TESTAMENT READING [1 CORINTHIANS 1: 22 – 25]. Therein we are clearly warned of the dangers of two matters which have plagued the Catholic-Christian Church since its inception – [i] the inordinate dependance on visible signs, and [ii] the fascination for philosophical wisdom. {In this latter regard Paul elsewhere warned of the existence of those who “will follow their own fancy and gather a crowd of teachers to tickle their ears. [see 2 Timothy 4: 3b]}

So, we come to

TODAY’S GOSPEL [JOHN 2: 13 – 25](It is of value to note that both Paul and John’s contribution to this week’s ‘transforming Word’ are placed in the early stages of their teaching – as they express a few of the basics.) The Temple courtyard had become something of a shopping Mall where the sovereignty of God was not a fundamental focus. Jesus’ concern was not centred on the legitimate services provided but the MANNER in which they were conducted – the approach of the individual dealers. The establishment ruled, not the Lord. A variety of gods dominated.

Finally do not overlook the fact that John records that while “many believed in his name when they saw the signs … Jesus did not trust himself to them.” Why? “He himself knew what was in a man” –

GOD or gods!

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