Wednesday of the Third Week in Lent (March 26th, 2014)

Moses is understood to be the one who delivered God’s Law to the Israelites.

Now, by Law, our understanding is likely somewhat different than that of the Bible.  Likely we think of statutes, prohibitions, sanctions and penalties all carefully codified and interpreted by jurists.  This is what the Bible presents, but the Law of Moses was deeper than all this (a point that the Lord Jesus repeatedly in his Gospel).

The Law of Moses was a Way of Life, what we might understand as a culture. Cultures have laws, rules and obligations, but what a culture goes deeper than any of that. The root word of culture, the word “cult” is illuminating of what precisely a culture is at its depths- at the heart of every culture is a cult, that is, a relationship between the society and their God.  Show forth what a culture believes about God or esteems as ultimate concern, and you will know what that culture is all about.

The “cult” of Israel was the worship of the God of Israel, and from that worship came a whole way of life.  This is what Moses encourages the people to accept today, not just statutes, rules and prohibitions, but a way of life in which their culture manifests the God in whom they believe.

What is our relationship with God?  Whatever that relationship is reveals our way of life.

The culture of the Church begins and ends with the worship of the Church called the Mass.  This is why the Second Vatican Council aptly named the Eucharist, that is, the Mass as “the source and summit of the Christian life.”   If you want to understand what the culture of the Church is all about, what the Church holds as the highest value, take a careful look at the Mass and the truth of the Church’s culture will be revealed.

Unfortunately, the Mass is too often not the reference point for our understanding of the Church’s way of life.  The Mass is often displaced by an ideology or an opinion or an ethnicity or an institution and it is for this reason that the mission of the Church falters and fails. The Church becomes whatever we want to be, a faith-based non-for-profit, a clubhouse, or self-help discussion group, rather than what the Lord Jesus intends the Church to be- a unique way of life, through which his divine life and presence are presented to the world.

If we do not understand the cult of the Church we will not be able to comprehend the Church’s culture.  If we don’t know who we are, we most certainly are not going to know what we are supposed to believe or do.  If the Mass is not your starting point in your attempts to understand and practice the Church’s faith, you will get the Church entirely wrong.

Christ speaks today of the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets of Israel. For many, this means that he is getting rid of something- getting rid of Israel or getting rid of what we call religion.

So much nonsense!

Christ is speaking about the definitive meaning and purpose of both the Law and the Prophets- in other words, through him Israel and the world will come to know how God understands the Law and the Prophets, and this revelation will bring to the Law and the Prophets into their proper orientation- we will know, through Christ, what the Law and Prophets are all about. And we will know the meaning of the Law and the Prophets not through the clever theories of men and women, but through the revelation of God!

In the wake of the Second Vatican Council, many people drifted into clever theories of sociology, history and psychology and privileged these theories as being the fulfillment of the Law and the Prophets, indeed the fulfillment of Christ himself. This was little more than idolatry and how quickly what was thought to be definitive passed away!

There is only one who is the fulfillment of the scriptures and that is Christ the Lord.      Moses

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