Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 11
The God of Exodus is not a God of relativism, accommodation or negotiation. He is God who expects exclusive obedience from the people with whom he made His covenant. Thus, the first reading began, "You shall not have other gods beside me." No options. No other choices.
The Ten Commandments are short and to the point. The Jewish Study Bible points out that the commandments are addressed directly to the people. There are no punishments laid out for breaking them. Obedience is not motivated by fear of punishment but by God's absolute authority and gratitude for what God had done. "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery." The Decalogue both prescribes and proscribes. It prescribes observing the Sabbath and honoring one's father and mother. It proscribes: Killing. Adultery. Stealing. Perjury. There are no exceptions. There is no hint of relativism.
Thou shalt not kill does not exclude abortion because it has been renamed QUOTE women’s health care UNQUOTE. Planned Parenthood and its abortionists are beneath contempt.
“Honor your father and your mother" does not include asking, or demanding that, a physician put mom or dad to death with pills or an injection because their lives are perceived as having no meaning or dignity. Or, on a more practical level, because the inheritance is running out.
The prohibition against adultery should be self-evident from the damage it does to the family and the rest of society. However, it doesn't take very long wading in the moral swamps of politics or Hollywood, to get an idea how often that proscription is ignored. Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, and John Edwards from politics come quickly to mind. The list in Hollywood is much too long to even begin. The Decalogue is a moral manual for those who would bear fruit with yields of a hundred, or sixty, or thirtyfold. It is a clear road map for those who wish to live virtuously.
As we heard in the psalm,
"The ordinances of the Lord are true,
all of them just.
They are more precious than gold,
than a heap of purest gold;
Sweeter also than syrup
or honey from the comb."
The Lord does have the words of everlasting life. Our challenge is to hear those words and to heed them.
Haven't been out with the camera too much of late. Last week was crazed attending to the details of Ned's memorial Mass. Some days my energy flags and I have to stop. Will be going on retreat in five weeks. Photography is one of my ways of retreating, contemplating and, while writing meditations on the results, of praying.
Last August I went to the Penn State-Central Florida game with my former roommate Paul. Great game. On Monday, the day before Paul headed to the U.S. (I stayed for five more) we took the short train ride to Dun Laoghaire (pronounced, Dun Leery. Go figure.) It was well worth the trip.
Dun Laoghaire is on the Irish Sea. It was a point of entry to Ireland from England. Now it appears that its port action consists of small sailboats and other pleasure craft. The lighthouse is at the end of a long concrete pier which Paul and I walked. The sun hitting the pier, lighthouse and flag was the only sun of the day. Such is travel in Ireland.
We had just started walking when I noted these guys. It was fairly early in the AM. They were either skipping school or have considerable freedom when not in class.
A little further down the pier was this fish shop advertising lobster. I took this primarily because of the caution cone orange color of the laces in the young man's trainers.
This van has one of the great philosophical statements of all time on it. Can't argue with it.
Looking back at the town about halfway down the pier.
At the end of the pier beneath the lighthouse. The drabness of the color interrupted by little bits of red drew me to this scene.
After reaching the above spot we turned left and found . . . .
. . . some decent ice-cream. By the time we got this far the MG had taken its toll and it was time to sit for a bit for the long walk back. All in all a tremendous day.
+Fr. Jack, SJ, MD