Religion ties God to us, and us to God.

Wednesday. 5/20/15

Our readings today continue with Paul and Jesus bidding farewell to their flocks, and they both utter warnings against those who will attempt to lead them astray.

Paul said, “From your own group men will come forward perverting the truth.” And in his prayer, Jesus begs the Father to consecrate us in truth.

Our word Religion originally meant ligaments back and forth. It is what ties God to us, and us to God.

And, it often happens that worldly laws become mistaken for God’s law. We saw that in Saudi Arabia last week when the website of the Ministry of Civil Service announced an opening for eight executioners for “carrying out the death sentence according to Islamic Shariah Law.” Men are needed to chop off the heads of serious criminals, and the hands off of thieves. Those practices of Sixth Century desert tribes have been permanently added to Islamic religious life.

We have something similar with our Old Testament. You will hear people quoting the Bible saying, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” That is from Exodus 21. That chapter says that after seven years a Hebrew slave should be set free; but if you have given him a wife, she and their children remain your property.

That same chapter gives rules for selling your daughters as slaves. Rules like those got into there because the ancients who compiled the Bible simply incorporated tribal laws into parts of it.

The composers of the ancient Bible books were prayerful men who wrote what they thought God wanted them to write; but they were restricted by their own limited knowledge.

Those of us who are fans of Vatican II, like to point out that the documents it produced came from the collaboration of 25,000 prayerful, educated, men who over four years leaned on each other’s wisdom. Their document on how we should read the Bible is a religious masterpiece, tying God to us, and us to God.    

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