God gives the Israelites rules to live by - Catholic Courier

God gives the Israelites rules to live by

God gives the Israelites rules to live by
Bible Accent
Saint for Today: St. Polycarp

God gives the Israelites rules to live by

The Lord gave Moses many laws and other instructions for the people of Israel to live by. On one occasion God said to him, “Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy. Each of you revere your mother and father, and keep my sabbaths. I, the Lord, am your God.”

Some of the instructions dealt with sacrifices and offerings. “When you sacrifice your communion sacrifice to the Lord, you shall sacrifice it so that it is acceptable on your behalf. It must be eaten on the day of your sacrifice or on the following day. Whatever is left over until the third day shall be burned in fire.”

Other laws were about the gathering of the crops at harvest time. “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not be so thorough that you reap the field to its very edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Likewise, you shall not pick your vineyard bare, nor gather up the grapes that have fallen. These things you shall leave for the poor and the alien.”

The Lord established some laws so that the people would treat each other with fairness and respect. “You shall not exploit your neighbor. ‚Ķ You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your laborer. ‚Ķ You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment. Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your neighbor justly.”

One of the most important things the Lord wanted his people to do was to show love and compassion for each other. “You shall not hate any of your kindred in your heart. Reprove your neighbor openly so that you do not incur sin because of that person. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

The Lord also wanted the people of Israel to be fair in their business dealings with each other. “Do not act dishonestly in using measures of length or weight or capacity. You shall have a true scale and true weights. ‚Ķ I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. Be careful, then, to observe all my statutes and decrees. I am the Lord.”

Leviticus 19

1. What did the Lord tell the people about holiness?
2. What did the Lord say about neighbors?

Bible Accent” The Pentateuch

The Pentateuch is the name for the first five books of the Old Testament. The word is based on two Latin words meaning “five” and “scrolls.” These books tell the stories of the earliest of the ancestors of our faith, beginning with the creation through the faith of Moses, Noah, Abraham and many others. But they also contain many of the first laws for the people of Israel, as they were given by God to Moses. The most well-known of these are the Ten Commandments, but there are many others that deal with property ownership, legal matters, dietary restrictions on the use of certain animals for food and, of course, the rules regarding religious rites and festivals. Although the Book of Leviticus may not be the most exciting of these five books, it contains many important passages that acted as a legal guide for the people and leaders of Israel to follow.

Saint for Today: St. Polycarp

Polycarp (69-155) was one of the early bishops of the church called the “Apostolic Fathers” because they had been followers and students of the apostles of Jesus. Since Polycarp worked closely with St. John, he was considered a very holy man by the people of the church communities. Polycarp was charged by St. Ignatius to care of the church in Antioch. Polycarp also met with Pope Anicetus to discuss the different days on which Easter was celebrated by the Roman and Asian churches. They were not able to agree on a single date for both regions, and left the matter as it was. A strong persecution against the church in Asia resulted in the arrest and death of many Christians, and Polycarp was arrested. Instead of trying to flee when he was caught, he gave his life for his faith. We honor him on Feb. 23.


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