This blog started out as a collection of scripts for an online radio show of the same name. It riffed off of my 2004 book, Musings from the Christian Left, now republished as The Conscience of a Catholic Radical.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Third Sunday of Lent (B)

I have not been blogging the readings this season, but something about them this Sunday made me feel inspired.

First, we have the Decalouge from Exodus. It is clear from the passage that whomever penned this part of the book also penned Genesis, especially regarding the Third Commandment. I am actually writing this early Monday morning, so I am not breaking the Sabbath, of course I don’t work six days. At Mass today, the Priest did not read the parts in brackets which had your son and daughter and servants and aliens not work. The language of the Commandment does not allow Sabbath swapping. As it is, I could have used a swap while in High School, since I went to work five days and worked at least one or two weeknights and both weekend days washing dishes. The Commandment is for my protection, not to make sure I attend Mass, which was an added obligation, not a mercy.

They also left out the part about graven images, which every Catholic Church is full of, especially if you count the Tabernacle. There is something in the human psyche that likes to direct worship at an external object rather than the unseen God, even when we have received that God in the flesh into our very selves. Finding God in he fleshy experience of Communion provides grace. I have never found the same grace staring at a Monsterance or cross, atlhough I can’t seem to escape the habit of genuflecting before what is only the potentiality of an encounter with God. Of course, the original ban on idols was attributed to God but was of human origin. It can be changed, and if it can be changed, so can all of moral teaching. Still, iconoclasm rings true, even when dealing with the Eucharist.

Last thing on the Commandments, on coveting, note the neighbor’s house is put before his wife. This just reeks of the treatment of women as property in the ancient world. Until we ordain them, they still are.

The first chapter of First Corinthians begins the theme of the Wisdom of Love and its pressence in the death and ressurection of the Christ, with the foolishness of all else. Indeed, that includes all other forms of morality and worship.

The Decalogue is for our benefit, not God’s. Man seeks certainty rather than responsibility. The sacrificial animals and the sacrifices themselves were that certainty. Sacrifices bought off God, which is folly. We are not saved by paying for our sins (or having Christ do it for us), but by seeing Christ’s sacrifice as an act of solidarity with our sinful natures and accepting the gift of Love (the Spirit) into our hearts. The standard of our conduct then goes from following rules and bribing God as necessary with a sacrifice (the marketplace in the temple was but a symptom) or by going to Confession and performing some work to earn an Indulgence, but by praying constantly to love others as God loves them, which is perfectly. It is easy to traffick in sins, penances and indulgences. It is impossible to love others as God loves them, we we can only pray to try with God’s help. That is the true worship and religion of the temple which is Christ.


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