CAREFUL OBEDIENCE

Wednesday of the Third Week of LentLectionary: 239

Reading 1 DT 4:1, 5-9
Moses spoke to the people and said:

“Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees

which I am teaching you to observe,

that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land 

which the LORD, the God of your fathers, is giving you. 

Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees

as the LORD, my God, has commanded me,

that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy.

Observe them carefully,

for thus will you give evidence

of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations,

who will hear of all these statutes and say,

‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’

For what great nation is there

that has gods so close to it as the LORD, our God, is to us

whenever we call upon him?

Or what great nation has statutes and decrees

that are as just as this whole law

which I am setting before you today?
“However, take care and be earnestly on your guard

not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen,

nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live,

but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20
R. (12a) Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Glorify the LORD, O Jerusalem;

praise your God, O Zion.

For he has strengthened the bars of your gates;

he has blessed your children within you.

R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

He sends forth his command to the earth;

swiftly runs his word!

He spreads snow like wool;

frost he strews like ashes.

R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

He has proclaimed his word to Jacob,

his statutes and his ordinances to Israel.

He has not done thus for any other nation;

his ordinances he has not made known to them.

R. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.

Verse Before The Gospel SEE JN 6:63C, 68C
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life;

you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel MT 5:17-19
Jesus said to his disciples:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.

I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.

Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,

not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter

will pass from the law,

until all things have taken place.

Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments

and teaches others to do so

will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.

But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments

will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
REFLECTION: CAREFUL OBEDIENCE

“Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations.” –Deuteronomy 4:6
Because of their disobedience, the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years. They may have assumed they were obeying God, but Moses warned them that they were not obeying carefully enough (Dt 4:6). Jesus’ disciples probably thought they were obeying Him. However, Jesus proclaimed that He expected them to obey even the smallest part of a letter of the law (Mt 5:18; see also Ps 119:112). Then they were to obey the spirit of the law (2 Cor 3:6) and thereby usher in Christ’s kingdom.
The Lord promised us total victory in which we bring down the strongholds, sophistries, and proud pretensions which raise themselves against the knowledge of God (2 Cor 10:4-5). We will be able to claim this victory when our obedience is perfect, that is, complete (2 Cor 10:6). When we are committed to obey the Lord in every area of life, we will quickly crush Satan under our feet (Rm 16:19-20).
What we call now “obedience” may be more disobedience than obedience. To enter the “promised land,” live in God’s kingdom, and claim total victory, we need an obedience in the Holy Spirit that is careful, strict, and complete. Then we will be great (Dt 4:6-7; Mt 5:19) and have a deep, intimate love for the Lord (see Dt 4:7). When we obey on a new, deeper level, we will live a new life.
PRAYER: Father, through my obedience, raise me beyond my human limitations and weaknesses to the greatness to which You have called me.

PROMISE: “He sends forth His command to the earth; swiftly runs His word! He spreads snow like wool; frost He strews like ashes.” –Ps 147:15-16

PRAISE: Patricia once prayed only on Sundays, but now prays several times a day, entrusting her life to Jesus.

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