In a training session that I was doing for the readers at my church some years ago, one of the readers asked me specifically about today’s first reading from Exodus 22. “I just don’t connect with the Old Testament,” she said. “How am I supposed to make a reading like this exciting and relevant?” Good question.
In this reading, God is telling the people to do the right thing. Take care of widows and orphans. Don’t practice usury on your neighbors. If you borrow something, return it in a timely manner. Not very exciting stuff, right? And this reading really takes a negative approach on things. The Lord tells the people what will happen if they DON’T do these things…”My wrath will flare up.” Unfortunately, this is the way that too many people look at living the Christian life.
We need to concentrate on the other side of the coin; to take a different perspective. Not dwelling on the negative consequences of not doing the right thing, but concentrating on the positives that happen when we do the right thing. We grow in love. We live in peace. We become more compassionate. We experience blessing upon blessing. So when we see a reading like this, we need to remember to read between the lines and look at the other side of the story.
Father, we thank you for showering us with blessings when we do Your will. May we always do the right thing because it pleases you. Amen.