WEDNESDAY 11 MARCH 2015
Deuteronomy 4:1,5-9 and Matthew 5: 17-19
The Broadway Musical “Fiddler on the Roof” opened unforgettably with the song “Tradition”. The story centers on the villagers of Anatevka facing the problem of how to continue their traditions in a fast-changing world. It is not a new problem: in the first reading from Deuteronomy the People of God are encouraged to listen to and respect the norms and rules of God – this they are told, will lead to their being respected as a wise and intelligent people. They must not forget these values, rather they must teach them to their children.
It is so easy to “forget”: here’s an unholy trinity of ways in which we lose this memory of the great things that have been handed on to us:
- We can reject the things of the past – and say that only what is modern has any value
- We can neglect for example, the values of the Gospel: the seed sown is choked by the weeds – we are easily distracted, “there are more important things needing our attention!”
- We can leave the “handing on” to others. “Teach them to your children and to your children’s children” says Deuteronomy but do we not too often abandon our children to TV, the internet, the media or celebrities…?!
Tradition is a deeply human process by which we hand on what is true and beautiful: human and religious values which enable us as human beings – in space and time – to grow, to advance and to develop. And oh yes we can slide back and down! – history has too many terrible stories that testify to this.
It is no surprise then that the Lord Jesus, the Teacher, the Way and the Light of the World, tells us in today’s Gospel that “whoever obeys them (the least important of these commandments) and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
- Pray for a deep respect for your elders; a truly listening ear to their voices.
- Read again the 1st reading of today from the Book of Deuteronomy 4: 1, 5-9
- Ask what you can hand on to your children, to the youth of the Parish.
Lord of yesterday, today and tomorrow, teach us to hold on to all that is of value; all that is beautiful and true. May we live by what is enduringly beautiful and true, may we be the best of teachers of the values of your Kingdom.
+Bishop Thomas Graham Rose
Diocese of Dundee