A Weekly Bible Study

                      22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time
                          Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8

When we have gone astray, a second chance is always appreciated. The
Book of Deuteronomy or “second law” offers to the Israelites that very opportunity.
Forty years of desert wandering have led them into infidelities. Moses
will now have to restore their sense of the importance of God’s law.

The law had a unique place in Israelite history. It was a sign of Israel’s status
as chosen people, the divine favor that set the nation apart from others. The
law was meant to identify Israel as a “wise and intelligent people” as Moses
offers in today’s reading. And most importantly, it revealed the intimate relationship
between God and his chosen nation. In the eyes of Moses, God’s law was a gift, and their actions were to demonstrate appreciation for that gift.

In preparing for his final days, Moses is passionate about ensuring that the legacy
of the law be preserved. The Book of Deuteronomy – essentially his last will
and testament – will be the final exhortation of Moses to God’s people. As the
people prepare to take possession of the land that God has promised, they will
need to make a new resolve to imprint the law upon their hearts. Blessings and
prosperity in the new land will depend upon the Israelites’ embracing wholeheartedly
God’s commands. The exhortations in Deuteronomy will offer them their “second chance”
to come back to God and live faithfully as his chosen people. And, as salvation history will
show, the Israelites will fail repeatedly.

Each day our gracious God gives us a second chance to hear and heed his law.
We, too, fail over and over again. We have only to look to his Son who implanted
within our hearts a new law, a  new covenant of love. He became one
of us that he might show us the way, the truth and the life. In his Son, God has
indeed given us that second chance.