Providing the Word of God.

March 22, 2017


The Immense Value of Example

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

There is a powerful story about a child’s reaction to the way his parents treated his grandfather, an older man who was living with the family and who had undesirable and understandable trouble and challenges getting through life. Things like spilling food on the floor, knocking over the glass of milk or iced tea, and making grunting sounds while eating all seemed to anger the little boy’s parents which caused them to speak harshly to the old man on a daily basis.

One day, the old man mad a huge mess at the table which caused his own son (the boy’s father) to ban him from eating at the table with the rest of the family. instead, he brought out a smaller table, very hard and uncomfortable, and gave the elderly relative a wooden bowl and spoon so as not to easily spill food upon the floor or make any further “messes.” All this the young boy watched in sadness as his grandfather was demoted to a corner of the dining room with an occasional tear in his eye.
boy sawing woodLater in the week, the father of that boy heard something in the garage. He went out to see what was happening and was surprised to find his son working on some project, very focused. He called out, “Hey Son, what are you working on there?” His son replied, “Hi Dad! I’m working on the table and bowls that you and mom will eat on when you both get very old.”

His father was completely astounded and stupefied. That very night, he discarded the crude little table and bowl and brought his father back to eat with the rest of the family. From then on, they didn’t seem to mind all the spills and noises and that little boy was happy to have grandfather back eating with them for as long he lived.

“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.” (First Reading) 

When we hear the word, “teach,” we must expand our understanding of that term to mean much more than using words and and directives when imparting knowledge and values. The power of example is as much a part of the teaching process than the very content of the lesson. This is critical to understand how Our Faith is passed down from one generation to another and how we will maintain our fidelity to the God who loves us so much.

Jesus Himself in the Gospel continues to expound on this very necessary requirement in our journey not only through Lent but also through life itself: “But whoever obeys and teaches theseJESUS W CHILDRENcommandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”  

A man once wrote to his teenage son: “God is the reason why even in pain, I smile, in confusion I understand, in betrayal I trust and in fear I continue to fight.” These are not just words if they are put into practice and lived as best as possible. You and must remember even long after this particular Lenten Season is over, that our children, students and friends will not follow our advice—they will indeed follow and remember our example.

For today, how about we give the following:

To an enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, our heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity,
To every child, a good example,
To ourselves, respect. 

(Oren Arnold)

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