Dear Sisters and Brothers! Last Sunday we witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus. With Peter, John and James we were given a glimpse of Jesus’ glory. This Sunday the Word of God takes us to another mountain, the Mount of Sinai. When we read the preceding verses of the Book of Exodus we discover that ‘there were peals of thunder and flashes of lightning, dense cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast.’ Into that cloud God called Moses. During that glorious time God revealed to Moses the Ten Words, which we call the Decalogue or the Ten Commandments. Why did God reveal to Moses the Ten Commandments? It was so that people could be transformed into a new creation. God who uttered the Ten Commandments also revealed: ‘I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.’ The glory of God was not limited to those extraordinary events on the summit of the Mount of Sinai but God’s glory shone in the power of God’s hand which led the people into freedom of God’s children. The freedom of the People of God was not accidental but the result of God’s involvement into their miserable situation.
Today I ask you my fellow Christians to turn to the same all powerful and all loving God who brought his people out of the house of slavery. Let us ask him so that we could have the Ten Commandments deeply engraved in our hearts, minds and will. In the midst of our society, which plunges into slavery of that ancient desire to be like God, to decide on its own what is good and what is evil, we need the power of God’s grace to shine the faith and trust in God’s Commandments which are ‘perfect’ and ‘revive the soul.’
When we observe these new laws introduced to our society it looks like watching a building where cracks appear and a collapse is imminent. However the words of our Blessed Lord addressed to the leaders of his time come alive in our own time too: ‘Destroy this sanctuary, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The words were fulfilled on those saving days of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday. The decisions and laws which fracture and destroy our society will not be the last words. The last word belongs to God who from the ruins can and will bring new life which began when Jesus was raised.
Let us continue celebrating this Eucharist and let us bring into it all the brokenness of our world. This altar will become our Mount of Sinai. The Lord Jesus will reveal himself in our midst under the species of bread and wine. This Body of Christ will be broken when we sing ‘Lamb of God.’ This Body of Christ will be broken in our midst for the healing of our broken world. This sign reveals that the Resurrection cannot be stopped, that the new life is emerging where death seems to be triumphing. As people we have destroyed a lot of sacredness in our world but the Lord Jesus still assures us: ‘in three days I will raise it up.’
When some people are now drinking champagne to celebrate the passing of the euthanasia laws we, followers of Jesus Christ, like those Israelites who had had the first taste of freedom after being freed from Egyptian slavery, listen to God announcing the Ten Commandments in our own time right now. These Commandments are our taste of freedom and new life. So let us kneel and with deep faith and gratitude let us receive the Fifth Commandment which has been rejected by Tasmanian lawmakers: ‘You shall not kill.’