The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the sons of Israel this:
‘“You must not molest the stranger or oppress him, for you lived as strangers in the land of Egypt. You must not be harsh with the widow, or with the orphan; if you are harsh with them, they will surely cry out to me, and be sure I shall hear their cry; my anger will flare and I shall kill you with the sword, your own wives will be widows, your own children orphans.
‘“If you lend money to any of my people, to any poor man among you, you must not play the usurer with him: you must not demand interest from him.
‘“If you take another’s cloak as a pledge, you must give it back to him before sunset. It is all the covering he has; it is the cloak he wraps his body in; what else would he sleep in? If he cries to me, I will listen, for I am full of pity.”’
First reading for the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time
It is to be hoped that the first assertion by the Lord in this Sunday’s first reading makes the faithful sit bolt upright in their places and wonder if they have heard right, and ask, if they have, whether they can hear it again. How stark the warning is!
And how much more stark such a threat appears when it is addressed to us, than when addressed to others. Our concern for our well-being, and that of our nearest and dearest, is often much more pronounced than is our concern for our neighbours, and the stranger.
The Lord though sees no gap – it will be done to you as you do to others. Or even more harshly done to you – be harsh with a widow and I will hear her cry and run you through with a sword!
How much store the Lord places on love and care and mutuality between his children, our human family…
Best wishes. May you survive the day!
Moses. From Church of Transfiguration, Mount Tabor, Israel. (c) 2017, Allen Morris