GREAT AND AWESOME GOD
- Document: Holy Scripture Readings
1.1. First Reading: The Book of the prophet Daniel 9: 4-10
1.2. Gospel Reading: The Gospel of St Luke 6: 36-38
1.3. Simple Comment: Daniel begins his prayer to Yahweh calling Him a great and awesome God because he acknowledges Yahweh’s fidelity to his covenant with Israel despite the chosen people’s infidelity. Later he would even say, “But yours, O Lord, our God, are compassion and forgiveness.” Psalm 79 is thus an apt response to this truth when the psalmist exclaims: “Lord, do not deal with us as our sins deserve.” In this regard, we understand why Jesus insists on his disciples to be compassionate, because “your Father is compassionate.”
- Monument: Beer Sheva
2.1. Beer Sheva is important to the Jews because of its association with the Patriarchs: Abraham, his son Isaac and Isaac’s son Jacob. The name Beer Sheva means ‘The Well of the Oath’ because it refers to a peace treaty between Abraham and Abimelek the Philistine. This was occasioned by the fight between Abraham’s and Abimelek’s shepherds on the possession of the well.
2.2. Isaac built an altar there in memory of the promise of Yahweh to his father; it was in Beer Sheva where in a vision God encouraged Jacob to take his family to Egypt.
2.3. After the Israelites returned from Egypt through the leadership of Moses and later of Joshua, Beer Sheva was given to the tribe of Simeon which was eventually absorbed by the tribe of Judah.
- Lenten Reflection
3.1. The first reading recalls the untainted track record of God’s fidelity with his People from the time of their Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Often the Old Testament states that Yahweh is the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, precisely to remind the people of the age-old and steadfast covenant God had made with them in a special election as His chosen people. Such fidelity is equivalent to His great compassion because God remains steadfast to His part of the covenant despite Israel’s infidelity and failure to comply to their own part. Awesome indeed is Yahweh!
3.2. Jesus in the Gospel uses this very quality of God to summon his disciples to do the same with their erring neighbor. Just as the Father is compassionate and would not condemn his children, so should His sons and daughters be to their brothers and sisters.
- Contemporary Filipino Question: El Shaddai members weekly sing something to this effect: Liglig, siksik at nag-uumapaw! It harps to today’s Gospel which characterizes how a true child of the Father should treat one’s neighbor: good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over. Isn’t this the way we wish to be treated as suki when we purchase food like peanuts or anything that is tinatakal? One very successful entrepreneur was overheard saying to a new employee: “Here we treat our associates just like our favored clients!”