Keeping God’s Commandments Will Lead Us To Life.
(Wed after 3rd Sun of Lent)
Keeping God’s commandments is the main message in today’s three readings and it is the condition for us to enter and live in the Promised Land. However, what does God’s commandments mean to you? Have they become a burden or a gift to you?
Have you ever watched people driving in developing countries such as China, Thailand or Vietnam where there is a lack of traffic laws and regulations? People kind of do their own thing. I went to Vietnam last year and experienced atraffic nightmare in Ho-Chi-Minh City. Some intersections have no traffic lights. As hundreds of cars and motorcycles from different directions approach the intersection, they all slow down. Those who want to make a right or left turn wait and join with others in a group slowly creeping forward. The biggergroup always wins over the smaller one. People kind of force the smaller group out of their way so they can make a turn. It is impossible to cross the street at an intersection that has no cross walk and traffic lights. You are better of crossing the street at apoint at least 100’ away from the intersection. It is very scary to cross a busy street when many cars and motorcycles keep coming at you nonstop from left and right,like big bullets at about 15 miles/hr.Following our relatives as we crossed a street, my wife and I just held hands with our relatives.We closed our eyes, our hearts pumping rapidly, as thought we were being led on a suicide mission!My relatives who live there are used to the traffic conditions and know how to cross a street. They told us to just be brave and slowly walk forward into the street. Do not move backward for the drivers will slow down and drive around behind you allowing room for you to go forward. That is how you cross a busy street provided your heart is in good condition!
After getting back in the USA and driving, I feel so good and safe, believing that we all follow the traffic laws. I know exactly when it is safe to go and when I need to stop. The laws and regulations are designed not to punish people but to protect people and to help everyone reach their destination safely. Similarly, the Ten Commandments are gifts from our merciful God who loves us so much and gives us theTen Commandments, not to create a burden on us, but to guard us from harm, and keepus from getting into trouble. They are meant to guide us safely into our heavenly home. As we heard in today’s first reading, Moses tells the Israelites that observing statutes and decrees is a condition for them to enter and live in the land of the Lord. The Psalmist reminds the people how special they are as chosen people of God because the Lord gave them a set of rules that were not made known to other nations. And in the Gospel, Jesus teaches us that He came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it, to make it more perfect. That will guarantee us of our eternal lives with Him in his heavenly kingdom if we faithfully follow the commanments.
Perhaps,some of ushave not fully recognized God’s intention and loving purpose for us in his Commandments. We may think of God’s Commandments as a burden rather than a gift as we face the challenges and conflicts of our lives. Yet, what a mystery it is that we have been blessed and “chosen” to receive the message of faith, the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection, the promise of eternal life in him!The Ten Commandments are truly a gift. They arethe heavenly road map that will show us the way to walk firmly on the right path that leads us safely when crossing many busy initersections of this world filled with evil temptations. Through the gift of the Holy Spirit the Lord transforms us and gives us the grace to love one another as Jesus lovesus and to forgive as Jesus forgives us.Then we will be reconciled to God and live in harmony with God and with one another. How often in our prayers do we give praise and thanks to Godfor the gift of our faith and the teachings that have been handed down to us, the living teaching that continues to sustain us in the midst of this dangerous world? Our readings today remind us of the important fact that following God’s commandments with a sincere heart and purified conscience is the condition for us to enter and live in the Promised Land of the Heavenly Kingdom.
My friends, as we continue with the celebration of the Holy Communion today, may the Holy Spirit help us to understand the true purpose and loving intentions of God’s Commandments. They are truly God’s gift to us. God’s Commandments are the heavenly road map that will guide us on the path to holiness and lead us surely and safely to our Heavenly Home.
Deacon Theman Pham