Sunday Scripture Readings


Deuteronomy 4:32-34, 39-40; Psalm 33;

Romans 8:14-17; Matthew 28:16-20

OUR GOOD NEWS:The Godhead is now revealed as "family," into which we are adopted as children through baptism. Among the most beautiful verses in the Book of Deuteron-omy, today's first reading is a prose-poem celebrating the witness of history to God's inmost "personality." It opens with a dramatic rhetorical question summoning us to reflection: "Ask now of the days of old..." From the days of Abraham, Israel's ancestors had continued as disadvantaged shepherds dreaming the impossible dream of one day settling down as farmers on their own land. A subsequent calamitous enslavement by Egyptians made their condition doubly hopeless. Suddenly God intervened with a miraculous deliverance, followed by a solemn covenant commitment of special relationship. And now, as Moses spoke, Israel stood poised to realize her centuries-old dream. They had only to cross the Jordan and take possession of their own land, God's gift to his Chosen People. Poised in the midst of such astounding events, Israel was commanded to reflect on the nature of God as revealed through world history. Ponder the whole panorama of creation from time's beginning; consider the witness of every region on earth. "Has there happened anything like this great deed or has anything been heard like it?" No human achievement but God's, and what kind of God He must be! Nothing remotely comparable ever occurred - anytime, anywhere. Direct encounter with the divinity on Mount Sinai, yet surviving such awesome experience! A God who "dares" to intervene in territory presumably reserved for other divinities, who asserts an unimpeded universal rule through acts of power, "taking" away by force a people formed into his own special "nation"! This overwhelming evidence, personally experienced as well as recalled, proved there is only one God who revealed Himself in the twin blessings of liberation from slavery and the gift of land as well as nationhood. Thus far, everything has been done for Israel. Now she must properly respond by keeping what had been graciously conferred. "God's statutes and commandments" must carefully be observed for two reasons: as concrete expressions of our gratitude and as unique means of appropriating his offer of truly happy living. Today's psalm, a symphonic hymn of praise, begins with reasons why we're fortunate to be God's Chosen People and motives for a trusting response to His call. God's "word is upright": He says what He means without deceit or crookedness; acts of creation and salvation reveal His dependable nature. As a lover of "justice and right," God faithfully carries out His promises, strengthening the relationship binding Himself to His people, a relationship consistent with the highest moral standards. Truly, the whole "earth" testifies to His trustworthiness! Rather than philosophical abstraction, the doctrine of the Trinity insists on the personal dimension of divinity: God is deeply involved in the world from its beginning, showing Father-like care for His people, setting an example that summons us to imitation.

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