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My Notes on Deuteronomy 26:4-10

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 13, 2013

Unless noted otherwise, all quotations are taken from the RSV and are used in accordance with the copyright policy of the copyright holder:

The [New] Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted. Notice of copyright must appear on the title or copyright page of the work as follows:

“Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.” (source)

The book of Deuteronomy shows us Moses delivering a series of exhortatory sermons to the people as they were camped on the Plains of Moab, preparing to enter the Promised Land. Part of the purpose of Deuteronomy is expressed well by Peter F. Ellis in his Book THE MEN AND MESSAGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT: “Lest anyone be deceived into interpreting the history of the Pentateuch coldly or its laws legalistically, the book of Deuteronomy sets out to show that the nation was conceived and brought to birth through nothing more or less than God’s warm and boundless love and was meant to grow and develop only through a return of that love, manifested by loyalty and obedience” (Page 45). This is in part why the book opens with Moses retelling of God’s providential care of His people from the time they left Mount Sinai until they reached the Plains of Moab (Deut 1-3), following it up with a plea to faithfully adhere to the will of God as revealed at Sinai (Horeb).  The remembrance, rehearsal, and retelling of God’s providential and salvific deeds serve as a motivation to love, trust and obey God. It is against this background that the credo (verses 5-9) found in today’s first reading (Deut 26:4-10) should be understood.

Deut 26:4 Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand, and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.

It is rather odd that the text begins here rather than in verse 1, but it should be noted that what follows in verses 5-10 gives enough information to grasp what is going on. It should also be kept in mind that the Lectionary readings were not chosen so preachers could engage in scientific exegesis from the pulpit. The readings are chosen in order to establish a certain theme or themes, doctrinal or moral, for the purpose of instruction and parenesis. Some of those themes include worship, confession of faith, God as protector, God as the source of all our good, etc.

The priest shall take the basket…and set it down. In verse 10 it is stated that the person bringing the offering is to set it down before the Lord. It should be remembered however that priests were representatives of the people, they were meant to embody and represent the people they served. In the Gospel of the temptation Jesus is seen as the representative and embodiment of Israel, reliving Israel’s experience and showing what the people should have been-and what we must be-faithful and obedient to God (Luke 4:1-13).

Deut 26:5 “And you shall make response before the LORD your God, `A wandering Aramean was my father; and he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous.
Deut 26:
6 And the Egyptians treated us harshly, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage.

Deut 26:7 Then we cried to the LORD the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice, and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression;
Deut 26:8 and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror, with signs and wonders;
Deut 26:9 and he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey

This is the heart of today’s first reading, a confession of what God has done for his people in the past which highlights its continuing relevance for the descendants of that people. Generation after generation the people were to say “the Egyptians treated us harshly, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage. Then we cried to the LORD the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice,” etc. Year after year the people brought their first fruits to the Lord in recognition of what he had done, worshiping and rejoicing before him (verses 10-11).

(verse 5) And you shall make response before the LORD your God. The Hebrew word  וענית (“make response”) has the basic meaning of taking heed or paying attention, with the implication of making a response, thus the meaning is: Take heed of what the Lord has done for you and act accordingly. What is known, held, believed interiorly is to be made manifest in exterior acts, a point brought out in today’s second reading: For if thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thy heart that God hath raised him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For, with the heart, we believe unto justice: but, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation (Rom 10:9-10 Douay Rheims).

(verse 5 cont.) A wandering Aramean was my father. A reference to Jacob, the grandson of Abraham whose 12 sons became the fathers of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, was from Aram Naharaim (Gen 24:10) and Jacob himself spent many years in Paddan-aram (Gen 28:5) living with his uncle, Laban the Aramean (Gen 31:20). The term Aramean should be understood spatially, not racially. It serves to emphasize the unrootedness of Jacob whose actions had forced him to flee the family home in Canaan, the land promised to Abraham’s descendants (Gen 17:8).

(verse 5 cont.) He went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous. Calls to mind the story of Joseph (Gen 37, Gen 39-50), one of Jacob’s sons whose forced entrance into Egypt proved beneficial to Jacob and his other sons (Gen 50:15-22). It also calls to mind the opening of the Book of Exodus: Then Joseph died, and all his brothers, and all that generation. But the descendants of Israel were fruitful and increased greatly; they multiplied and grew exceedingly strong; so that the land was filled with them (Ex 1:6-7).

The fact that “he” (Jacob) “sojourned there, few in number,” emphasizes the continuing theme of Jacob as a wanderer, with no place to really call his own.

(verse 6) And the Egyptians treated us harshly, and afflicted us, and laid upon us hard bondage. The proliferation of the Israelites, a sign of God’s blessing and promise (Gen 1:28, Gen 12:2, Gen 15:5, Gen 17:5-6, Gen 22:17-18), was fearful to a new Pharaoh in Egypt who knew nothing of Joseph (Ex 1:8-20).

(verse 7) Then we cried to the LORD the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice, and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.

They cried out to the God who had blessed their fathers, and who had promised the descendants of those fathers (i.e., themselves) good things. What God has done in the past, or has promised to bring about in the future is, throughout the bible, a strong motivation for prayer, confession of faith, trust, obedience, hope, etc.

The fact that the Lord “heard” and “saw” should be seen in relation to verse 5 (see comment there). The people were bidden to “make response before the Lord,” and now we see why, because he has previously made response to them in their afflictions.

(verse 8) And the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, with great terror, with signs and wonders.

Se Exodus 6:6. In Deut 4:32-40 God’s mighty acts are one of the proofs of his love for the Patriarchs (Abraham, Issac, Jacob) and their descendants, and ought to motivate the people to fidelity.

(verse 9) And he brought us into this place and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

The Lord “brought” his people “out of Egypt” (8) for a specific purpose: He brought us into this place, and gave us this land. The phrase “He (God) brought us into this place and gave us this land” stands in marked contrast to the words of verse 5: “He (Jacob) went down into Egypt and sojourned there. The descendants of Jacob are no wandering Arameans! The fact that it is described as a land flowing with milk and honey should be seen in contrast to the affliction, toil and oppression mentioned in verse 7 (see Ex 3:8, Ex 3:17). The giving of the land of milk and honey fulfills a promise made to the fathers (Deut 26:15. Deut 27:3).

Deut 26:10 And behold, now I bring the first of the fruit of the ground, which thou, O LORD, hast given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God.

This act, among other things, is meant to be a reminder that all good things come from God, and that God’s blessings can become a danger if we forget that he is their source (see the warning in Deut 8:8-20).

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My Notes on Deuteronomy 6:2-6 for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 29, 2012

Background~Genesis has as its primary purpose to establish the origins of the People of God. Exodus describes the establishment of this people as a theocratic nation. Leviticus shows the holy, cultic nature of the nation and how it was centered around Ark and Tabernacle. Numbers deals with the organization of the nation as a social entity with its social/communal organization also centered around Ark and Tabernacle. “Deuteronomy has as it purpose to show the Israelites that their spirit as a nation must be a spirit of love, honor, and obedience to God” (Peter F. Ellis, THE MEN AND MESSAGE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT, pg. 7).

Deuteronomy opens with a brief introduction which establishes the setting of the work as a whole (Deut 1:1-5).  This is followed by Moses’ giving an historical narration of key events the people have experienced from Sinai to the Plains of Moab (Deut 1:6-3:29). This narration highlights God’s providential care for the people in spite of their sins. It prepares for Moses’ call for the people to obey God so that they may enter the land, take and maintain possession of it (Deut 4:1-5:33). There is a focus on the Ten Commandments (Deut 5). Deut 6:1-11:32 essentially builds upon the First Command (Ex 20:2-5), focusing on the uniqueness of  God and its implications, i.e., fearing the Lord, the necessity of keeping His statutes and commands, avoiding false gods, instructing their children, the blessing given for the obedience of faith, dangers of not obeying, etc.

Deut 6:1  These are the precepts, and ceremonies, and judgments, which the Lord your God commanded that I should teach you, and that you should do them in the land into which you pass over to possess it:

A reference to what has just been taught in chapters 4 and 5. Note the connection of the present verse to Deut 4:1~And now, O Israel, hear the commandments and judgments which I teach thee: that doing them, thou mayst live, and entering in mayst possess the land which the Lord the God of your fathers will give you. Note also the first 3 verses of chapter 6 essentially repeats the end of chapter 5~But stand thou here with me, and I will speak to thee all my commandments, and ceremonies and judgments: which thou shalt teach them, that they may do them in the land, which I will give them for a possession. Keep therefore and do  the things which the Lord God hath commanded you: you shall not go aside neither to the right hand, nor to the left.  But you shall walk in the way that the Lord your God hath commanded, that you may live, and it may be well with you, and your days may be long in the land of your possession (Deut 5:31-33).

Deut 6:2  That thou mayst fear the Lord thy God, and keep all his commandments and precepts, which I command thee, and thy sons, and thy grandsons, all the days of thy life, that thy days may be prolonged.

That thou mayest fear the Lord thy God. A reverential fear of God. In Deuteronomy such fear is closely associated with love (see verse 5 below, Deut 10:12). Protestant scholar John Sailhamer notes that “the ‘fear of the Lord’ which Moses has in mind is not that which flees from his presence but that which longs to do his will. It is a fear that produces not obeisance but obedience, not worry but worship (Deut 6:13)” [THE PENTATEUCH AS NARRATIVE, pg. 439].

And keep all his commandments, etc. The cafeteria Israelite is as foreign to the Bible as is the cafeteria Catholic (see Matt 28:20). For Matthew’s teaching on true discipleship as doing all the will of God see Peter f. Ellis’ MATTHEW, HIS MIND AND MESSAGE, pgs 137-155.

Deut 6:3  Hear, O Israel, and observe to do the things which the Lord hath commanded thee, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayst be greatly multiplied, as the Lord the God of thy fathers hath promised thee a land flowing with milk and honey.

Hear, O Israel. This is a call often used to gather the people together for battle, worship, etc. Here it is used as a call to attention.

Observe to do the things which the Lord hath commanded thee. “Observe” in Hebrew is ושׁמרת, literally, “guard to do the things which the Lord hath commanded thee.” The command reminds us of the order to Adam to “keep” ( ולשׁמרה׃) the Garden of Eden (Gen 2:15). I would suggest that “guard” and “do” are somewhat synonymous here. The Israelites guard the things that have been commanded by doing them.

As the Lord the God of thy fathers hath promised thee a land flowing with milk and honey. The Israelites will remain on the land only so long as they love and obey God, if they do not, then, like Adam, they will be exiled and punished (Deut 4:24-28; Deut 8:6-20; Deut 28:15-68).

Deut 6:4  Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord.
Deut 6:5  Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength.

Hear, O Israel repeats the beginning of the previous verse.The first word of this verse in Hebrew is שׁמע (shâma‛) which “has given its name to the prayer, or profession of faith, of the devout Jew, recited morning and evening, from pre-Christian times to the present. It is made up of Deut6:4-9, Deut11:13-21, and Num 15:37-41, introduced and concluded by various blessings” (Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture).

The Lord our God is one Lord. A polemic against all false gods. The fact that the Lord is one leads to the imperative of verse 5: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength.

With thy whole heart. In the bible the heart is associated with emotions such as joy, sorrow, courage, etc (Prov 27:11; Neh 2:2; 2 Sam 17:10). It’s also associated with man’s reason as exhibited in things like questioning (Judges 5:16); formulating plans (1 Chron 29:18); plotting (Gen 27:41); etc. Finally, it is associated with man’s moral states such as pride (Deut 8:14), godlessness, (Job 36:13), etc. All man’s thoughts, emotions, morality must be governed by God’s revealed will.

Thy whole soul. The Hebrew word נפשׁ (nephesh) is virtually impossible to translate adequately into English by any single word, nor is it limited to a single concept. Here I believe the term נפשׁ (nephesh) is to be understood as the seat of the desires (see Deut 12:20; Deut 14:26; Deut 21:14; Deut 23:25).

Thy whole strength. מאד (me’ôd). With all diligence, exceedingly. A single-mindedness that can set one apart from others in relation to God’s commands (2 Kings 23:25).

Deut 6:6  And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart:

They should be loved and, as an act of love, passed on to one’s children. They should be constantly  in one’s thoughts, at home and abroad (Deut 6:7). They should be bound to the hand as a valued possession, bound between the eyes so as not to be lost sight of (Deut 6:8; see Ex 13:16).

 

 

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My Notes on Deuteronomy 32:18-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 18, 2012

These verses are used as the responsorial for the Memorial of St Bernard, August 20.

The “Song of Moses”, from which today’s responsorial verses are taken, is first introduced in Deut 31:16-22. The people are on the Plains of Moab (Deut 1:1-5), on the verge of entering the Promised Land (Deut 4:1; Deut 27:2), but before this takes place Moses will die (Deut 3:24-27). A successor must be chosen (Deut 3:28 Deut 31:14-15), encouragement given (passim), and a reminder that it is ultimately the Lord who leads the people (Deut 31:1-6). The command to write the song is given in the Tent of Meeting and is closely connected with the commissioning of Joshua to succeed Moses, and with the promise of God’s continuing presence. A time will come when both people and leaders will forsake the Lord who is with them (Deut 31:16, 20), and he will hide his presence from them as punishment (Deut 31:17-18), and the song will serve as a witness against them (Deut 31:19, 21)

Deu 32:18  Thou hast forsaken the God that begot thee, and hast forgotten the Lord that created thee.

Thou has forsaken the God that begot thee. The implication that God is Father recalls the words Exodus 4:22-23. See also Hosea 11:1. The songs looks forward to a time when all that the Lord has done for his people has been forgotten, at least in practice if not mentally. His children whom He begot will treat Him perversely: They have sinned against him, and are none of his children in their filth: they are a wicked and perverse generation. Is this the return thou makest to the Lord, O foolish and senseless people? Is not he thy father, that hath possessed thee, and made thee, and created thee? (Deut 32:5-6).The numerous warnings found throughout Deuteronomy have become unheeded (Deut 4; Deut 6:10-19; Deut 8:11-20; Deut 11:26-32; Deut 28:15-68).

Deu 32:19  The Lord saw, and scorned ( ונאצוני) them: because his own sons and daughters provoked him.

The word scorned connects with the reasons why the song was ordered written: And when they have eaten, and are full and fat, they will turn away after strange gods, and will serve them: and will despise ( ונאצוני) me, and make void my covenant (Deut 31:20). If they scorn God, he will scorn them.

Deu 32:20  And he said: I will hide my face from them, and will consider what their last end shall be: for it is a perverse generation, and unfaithful children.

I will hide my face from them. Again pick up on the reasons why the song was ordered written (Deut 31:17-18).  In the Bible the word face is often synonymous with “presence.” God’s saving presence will disappear, his help and protection (emphasized in Deut 31:-8) will be no more.

Deu 32:21  They have provoked me with that which was no god, and have angered me with their vanities: and I will provoke them with that which is no people, and will vex them with a foolish nation.

They provoked me with that which was no god. Another connection to the reasons for the song’s composition: this people rising up will go a fornicating after strange gods in the land, to which it goeth in to dwell: there will they forsake me, and will make void the covenant, which I have made with them (31:16).

And have angered me with their vanities. Parallels the previous part of the verse, i.e., the false gods are their vanities. The Hebrew  בהבליהם refers to something empty, transitory, vacuous.

I will provoke them with that which is no people. God’s chosen people, having provoked God, will in turn be provoked by Him through a no people. God will choose a people not His own to vex the people He chose for His own, because they have forsaken him. The God who in the past preserved His chosen people from enemies (Deut 28:7) will give them over to their enemies, for they have treated their God as if he were an enemy, or at least a stranger (Deut 28:25; Deut 28:29-37; etc.) See also Jeremiah 1:15-16; Isa 10:6; Isa 28:1-4.

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My Notes on Deuteronomy 30:15-20 for the Thursday After Ash Wednesday

Posted by Dim Bulb on February 16, 2012

Unless otherwise noted, all biblical quotations are from the RSV. The RSV is under copyright and the texts appear here in accordance with the copyright policy of the copyright holder: The [New] Revised Standard Version Bible may be quoted and/or reprinted up to and inclusive of five hundred (500) verses without express written permission of the publisher, provided the verses quoted do not amount to a complete book of the Bible or account for fifty percent (50%) of the total work in which they are quoted.

Notice of copyright must appear on the title or copyright page of the work as follows:

“Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

 Scripture links are to the NRSV.

15 “See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. See Deut 11:26-28; Jer 21:8-9.

Here we have an example of what is sometimes referred to as “two ways teaching”; popular in the moral and wisdom literature of Judaism, Christianity, and Paganism. The name is derived from the fact that the image of a “way” (i.e., a road or path) was used to provide a contrast between the actions or fate of the good and bad, the righteous and the wicked.  Some famous examples of two ways teaching using the road image are: Psalm 1, which is today’s Responsorial Psalm, and  Matt 7:13-14.  The term is often applied to any image which contrasts the good and the bad, evil and righteous. In this extended sense, today’s Gospel passage is “two ways teaching” (see Luke 9:22-25, especially verses 24-25).  Another famous example would be the contrasting foundation image of Matt 7:24-27. Probably the most famous example from non-biblical Christian literature is the opening line of the Didache (late 1st, early 2nd century)~”Two ways there are: one leading to life, the other leading to death; and great is the difference between the two ways.”

CCC #1696: The way of Christ “leads to life”; a contrary way “leads to destruction”(see Matt 7:13; Deut 30:15-20). The Gospel parable of the two ways remains ever present in the catechesis of the Church; it shows the importance of moral decisions for our salvation: “There are two ways, the one of life, the other of death; but between the two, there is a great difference.”(Didache 1, 1).

Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life #28:  For us too Moses’ invitation rings out loud and clear: “See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. … I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life,that you and your descendants may live” (Deut 30:15,19). This invitation is very appropriate for us who are called day by day to the duty of choosing between the “culture of life” and the “culture of death”. But the call of Deuteronomy goes even deeper, for it urges us to make a choice which is properly religious and moral. It is a question of giving our own existence a basic orientation and living the law of the Lord faithfully and consistently: “If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you this day, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live …therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him; for that means life to you and length of days” (Deut 30:16,19-20). (Evangelium vitae 28)

Pope John Paul II, The Gospel of Life #48: It is not surprising, therefore, that God’s Covenant with his people is so closely linked to the perspective of life, also in its bodily dimension. In that Covenant, God’s commandment is offered as the path of life: “I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil. If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you this day, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to take possession of” (Deut 30:15-16). What is at stake is not only the land of Canaan and the existence of the people of Israel, but also the world of today and of the future, and the existence of all humanity. In fact,it is altogether impossible for life to remain authentic and complete once it is detached from the good; and the good, in its turn, is essentially bound to the commandments of the Lord, that is, to the “law of life” (Sirach 17:11). The good to be done is not added to life as a burden which weighs on it, since the very purpose of life is that good and only by doing it can life be built up (Evangelium vitae 48).

16 If you obey the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you this day, by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to take possession of it.

Verse 15 introduced a challenge that had been “set before” the Israelites. This present verse (16) is an attempt to get them to make the right choice by indicating what will fall to them if they do. Verses 17-18 are also intended to get them to make the right choice by indicating to them what will befall them if they make the wrong choice.

CCC#2057: The Decalogue must first be understood in the context of the Exodus, God’s great liberating event at the center of the Old Covenant. Whether formulated as negative commandments, prohibitions, or as positive precepts such as: “Honor your father and mother,” the “ten words” point out the conditions of a life freed from the slavery of sin. The Decalogue is a path of life: “If you love the LORD your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his ordinances, then you shall live and multiply” (Deut 30:16). This liberating power of the Decalogue appears, for example, in the commandment about the sabbath rest, directed also to foreigners and slaves: “You shall remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out thence with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm” (Deut 5:15).

If you obey the commandments…by loving the LORD your God.

In the book of Deuteronomy, obedience and love are nearly synonymous.

Then you shall live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you are entering to take possession of it. Life and security in the land are constantly held out to the people as a reward for obedience to the commands (Deut 5:33; Deut 6:23-24; Deut 8:1; Deut 16:20; Deut 30:5-6; Deut 32:47). Multiplying and taking possession of the land recall the original blessing upon mankind: “And God blessed them, saying: Increase and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it” (Gen 1:28 DRV).

17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them,

But if your heart turns away. Contrasts nicely with the previous verse which spoke about obeying the commandments “by loving the LORD your God, by walking in his ways“.

And you will not hear. Thus disobeying the first word of the famous shema, based in part on Deut 6:4-9~’Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength. And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart:” (DRV, quoting verses 4-6). Note also the reference to heart in the shema, which is also used in this verse.

But are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them. Also violating the shema which speaks strictly of “our God,” who must be loved with the whole  heart, soul and strength. Additionally, part of the shema comes from Deut 11:17 which reads~”Beware lest perhaps your heart be deceived, and you depart from the Lord, and serve strange gods, and adore them” (DRV).

Serving (worshiping) other gods would be a repudiation of the primary reason for the Exodus (Ex 3:18; Joshua 24:14).

18 I declare to you this day, that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land which you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.

You shall perish; you shall not live long in the land. Directly contrasts the promised blessings for fidelity in verse 16.

19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live,

I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day. See Deut 4:26; Deut 8:19. The words “heaven” and “earth” may be intended as a merism: all creation is to witness against you. It’s possible that the phrase relates to the prohibition of making idols of things in heaven or on earth (see Deut 4:15-19).

Pope Benedict XVI: For true life – our salvation – can only be found in the reconciliation, freedom and love which are God’s gracious gift. This is the message of hope we are called to proclaim and embody in a world where self-centeredness, greed, violence, and cynicism so often seem to choke the fragile growth of grace in people’s hearts.  Saint Irenaeus, with great insight, understood that the command which Moses enjoined upon the people of Israel: “Choose life!” (Deut 30:19) was the ultimate reason for our obedience to all God’s commandments (cf. Adv. Haer. IV, 16, 2-5).  Perhaps we have lost sight of this: in a society where the Church seems legalistic and “institutional” to many people, our most urgent challenge is to communicate the joy born of faith and the experience of God’s love (Homily at St Patrick’s Cathedral, NY, April 19, 2008).

20 loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him; for that means life to you and length of days, that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

The previous verse ended with the appeal “choose life that you and your descendants may live.” Life involves loving, obeying, and cleaving to God.

Posted in Bible, Catechetical Resources, Catholic, Christ, Devotional Resources, John Paul II Catechesis, liturgy, Notes on Deuteronomy, Quotes, Scripture | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

 
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