Saturday, August 15, 2009

June 9, 2009

At that time, the great multitude followed Jesus. He went up into a mountain with His disciples and began to speak to them. You understand that this feast of Pentecost that we celebrated on Sunday was for the Jews the day on which they celebrated the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai. As I said last Sunday, the Jews sojourned nine days after their departure from Egypt and came to Mt. Horeb, and there they waited beneath the mountain. While they waited there, like a mixed multitude of confused people, they partied, they worried, they became excited, and they created a God of Egypt to worship, and they sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play. They offered sacrifices both to Baal and to the Egyptian deities, while Moses on the mountain was praying for the forty days. At the end of the forty days, then God spoke to Moses and He wrote on the tablets of stone the commandment of the Old Law in ten words. And, as God addressed Moses, Moses brought these tablets down to the people, and discovering that they had sinned so grievously, the tablets were broken. It wasn't until later that they were restored.
But now our Lord Jesus Christ, who is God, goes up on the mountain, not like Moses to receive new commandments from heaven, but as the divine manifestation of the Holy Trinity to proclaim the law of the new covenant. And the law of the new covenant includes, but certainly is not confined by, “Thou shalt not... Thou shalt not...” This is prologemena, it's simply the preface of the story. This is a law of love. It says, “Blessed are they who imitate the life of the kingdom of heaven as I have given it to you, for they will receive the kingdom of heaven.” And there are, as we hear the beatitudes read, ten words here as well. But the final is, “Blessed are you when men shall revile you and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake.” And then, an admonition: “Rejoice in that day and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven.” The old covenant was sealed by circumcision with a flint knife in the flesh of male offspring. The new covenant is written in our hearts with the finger of God by the descent of His Spirit. So today we honor God, who on a mountain, gave us the law of the new covenant, and manifested it as a law not of fear, but a law of love.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, glory to Jesus Christ.
Glory forever!

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