Often, in both theology and in the study of Scripture, Jesus is presented as the “new Moses.” While this characterization if most often presented with the Gospel of Saint Matthew, nonetheless, since there is a unity within all of Scripture, this also is present in the Lucan sequence of the Lectionary.
Our reading from the Book of Deuteronomy (30:10-14) has us hear, from the lips of Moses, that God, in this Sinai Covenant has removed any sense of remoteness from his relationship with his people and that this relationship does not bear any element of that which is esoteric. Thus, not only is God heard in cultic worship and teaching, but also implanted deep within the heart. Any Hebrew would know that this trifold covenant experience is necessary for spiritual health and well-being. If this be true of the people who followed Moses through the Red Sea, so too will it be true for the people who follow Jesus, the “new Moses,” through the Paschal Mystery.
In his encounter with the “scholar of the law,” Jesus affirms the lawyer’s answer to the question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus draws the answer out of him based upon his observance of cult, teaching and experience of the heart. Yet, trapped only in his head, the lawyer asks another question, “And who is my neighbor?” The answer given, in the form of a parable, is the story of the Good Samaritan. Again, based upon the hearing and integration of the parable, Jesus challenges him to “Go and do likewise.”
The pathway to eternal life is the fulfillment of the commandments to love God and neighbor with the fullness of heart, soul, strength and intellect (Luke 10: 25-37). This is no mere “reduction” of the Ten Commandments of the Old Covenant, but rather an expansion of how the heart is taught to integrate them.
O God, who gave one origin to all peoples and willed to gather from them one family to yourself, fill all hearts, we pray, with the fire of your love and kindle in them a desire for the just advancement of their neighbor, that through the good things which you richly bestow upon all, each person may be brought to perfection, every division may be removed, and justice may be established in human society.
May the week ahead be filled with every grace and blessing!