The reading in the Divine Office yesterday got me thinking about where the world has gone wrong. What was the pattern of the Israelites? Covenant with God, break covenant, endure hardship, cry out to God, new covenant, eventually break covenant, and so forth. So humanity has this way of drifting in and out of alignment with God.
These are the words that Moses spoke beyond Jordan to the whole of Israel:
Listen, Israel: the Lord our God is the one Lord. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength. Let these words I urge on you today be written on your heart. You shall repeat them to your children and say them over to them whether at rest in your house or walking abroad, at your lying down or at your rising; you shall fasten them on your hand as a sign and on your forehead as a circlet; you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
When the Lord has brought you into the land which he swore to your fathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that he would give you, with great and prosperous cities not of your building, houses full of good things not furnished by you, wells you did not dig, vineyards and olives you did not plant, when you have eaten these and had your fill, then take care you do not forget the Lord who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You must fear the Lord your God, you must serve him, by his name you must swear.
Do not follow other gods, gods of the peoples round you, for the Lord your God who dwells among you is a jealous God; his anger could blaze out against you and wipe you from the face of the earth. Do not put the Lord your God to the test as you tested him at Massah. Keep the commandments of the Lord your God and his decrees and laws that he has laid down for you, and do what is right and good in the eyes of the Lord so that you may prosper and take possession of the rich land which the Lord swore to give to your fathers, driving out your enemies before you; this was the promise of the Lord.
In times to come, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the decrees and laws and customs that the Lord our God has laid down for you?” you shall tell your son, “Once we were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt, and the Lord brought us out of Egypt by his mighty hand. Before our eyes the Lord worked great and terrible signs and wonders against Egypt, against Pharaoh and all his House. And he brought us out from there to lead us into the land he swore to our fathers he would give to us. And the Lord commanded us to observe all these laws and to fear the Lord our God, so as to be happy for ever and to live, as he has granted us to do until now. For us right living will mean this: to keep and observe all these commandments before the Lord our God as he has directed us.”
I was going to emphasize the parts that hit me, but it’s really the entire passage. “HEAR O ISRAEL, the LORD our God is the one LORD. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength.” Do we? I think it’s impossible for fallen humanity to do that perfectly, but do we strive for it? Do we constantly remind ourselves who’s Who?
What do we love more than God? Our life? Our home, our job? That TV? The wine, booze, porn?
Further, do we witness to our families, teach our children? Do we practice the works of mercy?
Now, since we’ve allowed God to be segregated out of our public square, put in a box, so to speak, since we’ve given up the right to worship God each and every minute, allowed only to worship in our places of worship an hour on Sunday, why do you think there’s so much gun violence? When we spend 167 hours living with the temptations of Satan and not remembering the SHEMA, what do we really expect?