Today’s Old Testament reading gives us the Ten Commandments, from Exodus: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. … I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments’.
These words speak firstly of liberation; and secondly of the ‘steadfast love’ of the Lord, with our response to that love worked out in practical application in daily life.
Centuries later, Our Lord would be asked: ‘“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”’
St Augustine would write in his Rule, ‘Before all else, dear brothers, love God and then your neighbour, because these are the chief commandments given to us’. May we truly learn, and live, this way of love; and may God bless you in it.