March 7, 2013 - Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent

Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20
Matthew 5:17-19

What Moses praises today is a mere shadow of the glorious truth fulfilled in Jesus Christ. While he is right to say that no pagan people have a religion as wonderful as the Law that was handed down to him on Mt. Sinai, we Christians have truly received grace in place of grace.

He asks the Israelites, “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?” Yet God is closer to us than he was to them. He spoke to Moses face to face, but he lives in our hearts. The Israelites were gathered into the People of God, but we are the Body of Christ. The Lord taught Moses to call him by his name, “I am who am”, but Jesus Christ taught us to call God “Our Father”. The Israelites could not even stand to look at the glory of God reflected in the face of Moses, but we look upon God with unveiled faces. The Spirit of the Lord descended on 70 elders, although Moses wished that all the Israelites would become prophets, but we have all received the Holy Spirit, who speaks to us from within. God chose one man and his sons to be priests and to offer the sacrifices to him each day, but we all participate in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ as we present our own bodies as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God. Moses asked the Israelites, “What great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today?”, but the new law is the Holy Spirit, who is both perfectly just and perfectly merciful. For the law brings wrath, but grace brings salvation for all people.

So if the Israelites needed to take care and be earnestly on their guard not to forget a light that shone in the darkness like a candle, how much more must we take care and be earnestly on our guard not to forget the sunshine that illuminates the whole world. If the Israelites were duty-bound to teach their children and the grandchildren about God’s care for them in the desert, how much more are we bound by grace to proclaim to the whole world that God loves us and has built a kingdom where we can be with him forever.