Lent with the Book of Exodus (Ch 31)
March 15, 2024
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Exodus 31 (Friday of the Fourth Week of Lent)

Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Behold, I have called by name Bezalel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all kinds of workmanship, to devise skillful works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in bronze, and in cutting of stones for setting, and in carving of wood, to work in all kinds of workmanship. Behold, I myself have appointed with him Oholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan; and in the heart of all who are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded you: the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the covenant, the mercy seat that is on it, all the furniture of the Tent, the table and its vessels, the pure lamp stand with all its vessels, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering with all its vessels, the basin and its base, the finely worked garments—the holy garments for Aaron the priest, the garments of his sons to minister in the priest’s office— the anointing oil, and the incense of sweet spices for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded you they shall do.”

Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying, ‘Most certainly you shall keep my Sabbaths; for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am Yahweh who sanctifies you. You shall keep the Sabbath therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to Yahweh. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall surely be put to death. Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days Yahweh made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.’”

When he finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, he gave Moses the two tablets of the covenant, stone tablets, written with God’s finger.


Undoubtedly Moses received on the mount a law to be ministered to the people, written on tables of stone by the finger of God. It is comprised in ten commandments, among which there is no charge of circumcision or of the animal sacrifices which by Christians are no longer offered. In these ten commandments, apart from the observance of the sabbath, I would ask what the Christian is not bound to observe. Of the commands, not to make or worship idols or any other gods but the one true God, not to take God’s name in vain, to honor parents, to avoid fornication, murder, theft, false witness, adultery, and the coveting of that which is another’s—which among these commands can be said not to bind the Christian? What the apostle calls “the letter that kills” is not this law, written on the two tables, but that of circumcision and the other ancient ordinances now done away. For in the law of the tables comes “You shall not covet,” the command by which (says Paul), “though it is holy and righteous and good, sin deceived me and thereby slew me”—which can only be “the letter killing.” (Augustine of Hippo)
The Sabbath was the end of the first creation, the Lord’s day was the beginning of the second, in which he renewed and restored the old in the same way as he prescribed that they should formerly observe the Sabbath as a memorial of the end of the first things, so we honor the Lord’s day as being the memorial of the new creation. (Athanasius of Alexandria)
By the fleshly sabbath, which was kept according to the letter, the people were ordered to keep free from all servile work on the seventh day. [The meaning of] the spiritual sabbath, in the light of the sevenfold spiritual grace which we have received, is that we should remain on holiday from the unrest of vices not only on one day but every day. For if, according to the Lord’s voice, “Everyone who commits sin is a servant of sin,” it is clear that sins are properly understood as servile works, and we are ordered to walk free of them, as it were on the seventh day, in the partaking of spiritual grace. [We are ordered] not only to keep from wrong deeds but also to devote ourselves to good deeds. (Bede the Venerable)
Musical Selection (Ps 96; Sons of Korah)
In your wisdom, O God,
you have provided remedies for our human weakness.
Grant that we may joyfully accept your healing grace
and show its effect in the holiness of our lives.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.