Biblical meditation: sign of love

Sunday July 10, 2022, four texts will be read:
First reading Deuteronomy (Dt 30, 10-14).
Psalm 18b or 68.
Second reading Letter of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Colossians (Col 1, 15-20).
The Gospel according to Saint Luke (Lk 10, 25-37).

Psalm 18b (19) (8-11)
The law of the Lord is perfect,
which gives life;
the charter of the Lord is sure,
who makes the simple wise.

The precepts of the Lord are right,
they rejoice the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
it clarifies the look.

The fear he inspires is pure,
it is there forever;
the decisions of the Lord are right
and really fair:

more desirable than gold,
than a mass of fine gold,
tastier than honey
flowing from the rays.

Law, charter, precepts, commandment: how can all this be desirable, as the psalm affirms? How does this clarify the gaze, rejoice the heart? These words relating to the law could rather worry, in their accumulation, their precision, their insistence. They remind me of my shortcomings, my mistakes, my failings. But what exactly do these words cover?

Let us remember that the law, a word which in Hebrew means teaching, the direction to follow, was given by the Lord to his people as a sign of love and liberation, to show them the way of life and happiness. For the Hebrew people delivered from slavery in Egypt, it is a gift before being a duty.

The heart must speak

In the Book of Deuteronomy, the Lord specifies that this law is not difficult to follow, it is the heart that must speak, that is to say the seat of thought and decisions: “The word is very close to you, it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can put it into practice. See, I set before you life and happiness, death and misfortune. » (Deuteronomy 30, 14-15).

Because if it comes in many formulations and concerns every moment of the believer’s life, the law is above all a law of love. In its most sober and concise expression, that which Jesus will recall, it can be summed up in a few words: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6, 5), and “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19, 18). Where I fail to love according to my natural inclination, the law reminds me that it is God himself who invites me to do so, because it is a principle of life.

The love given and the love received, without pretense, without pressure, without stranglehold on the other, that is indeed what is desirable, that is what clarifies the gaze. A love that demands nothing, that imposes nothing. Who sometimes struggles to find the words to express themselves, but who nevertheless knows how to invent languages ​​to make themselves heard.

Necessity and evidence of love

So, yes, the heart is lightened of what weighed on it, it forgets the envious thoughts, the resentment. And the hand takes the outstretched hand, the gaze meets another gaze. Love me, says God, and love your neighbour. As a necessity, and also as obvious.

Because nothing makes us more beautiful, bigger, richer than love. Love me, says the face of this stranger crossed in the street, love me, says the old man, love me, says the newborn. Love me, and your heart will be clearer, your eyes brighter, your smile more tender. Love me, and the world will take on colors, and God will be present.

Emmanuel Levinas (1906-1995) states in Ethics and infinity : “In front of the face, I don’t just stand there contemplating it, I respond to it. » And in my response to the appeal both imperious and pleading of the other, in this ” Here I am ! » that I pronounce, the Infinite is present: “The subject who says ‘Here I am’ bears witness to the Infinite”, adds the philosopher.

Christine Renouard is pastor of the United Protestant Church of France and former general coordinator of the chaplaincies of the Foundation of the Deaconesses of Reuilly;
she published A way of life. The Psalms Editions Olivetan.

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Biblical meditation: sign of love

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