Do we open our minds and hearts to look beyond the details of the “letter of the law,” to find the freedom that comes from living according to the greatest commandments: love God and love one another?
Past sunday we read in the gospel of Mark
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules
It is perhaps this, that Jesus told us we hold to tradition which is man made and we forget the widow and orphan which is the true law.
Sometimes our hearts is what we need to follow and sometimes it may disagree with tradition such as a mother invited to her sons civil marriage given he is gay, what should she do? follow the law or her heart?
Love trumps tradition every time as for a mother not to attend would be an act of evil on her son who would feel unloved.
I think it means this but as always I may be wrong.
This quote has a lot to unpack in it! You could write a whole book on just this one quote.
It is talking about the relationship we have with God, which is the reason behind why we do things.
Looking at the Catholic “letter of the law”…we are to do things like attend Mass every Sunday, confess and receive the Eucharist once a year, and are encouraged to say a daily rosary.
Now, do you look beyond the “letter of the law” and the reason for those obligations and see why we are supposed to do them? It’s about bringing us into a closer relationship with God, keeping us from sin, and sanctifying us through His grace.
Is Mass only an obligation that you grudgingly attend or do you wake up eager to go because you long to be with Jesus? Is prayer a drudgery or is it an opportunity to talk with your Creator, and your spirit longs to be with Him as often as possible?
When we’re truly loving God and our neighbor, we look for ways to go above and beyond the basic requirements and do all that we can for Him and our neighbor. This means attending daily mass when possible, going to Adoration, spending time with the Word and in prayer, and frequent Confession. It means actively looking for ways to grow in holiness.
And it means going above and beyond in what we do for our neighbors, employers, friends, and family…going beyond the “letter of the law” with what we’re required to do and actively seeking ways to bless others by going beyond what is expected.
There is a freedom in living life according to God’s rules. When we chafe and argue against His boundaries, we feel confined and that religion is a bunch of made-up rules meant to constrict our freedom. But true freedom is found when we follow God’s rules just because we love Him and don’t want to grieve His Spirit with our sins. Instead of obeying out of a sense of obligation, we obey out of love, and then we can live a life free from sin, guilt, shame, and the painful consequences of sin.
With the New Covenant we aren’t free from our obligation to obey the Law, to be authentically righteous, but we’re to come to obey the law in a new way, in the right way, by the Spirit and not by our own efforts at being righteous, as if we already possessed that righteousness or justice on our own, but rather by being justified by God, by being in communion with Him, from and through Whom all righteousness flows: “Apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5.
Adam thought otherwise; that he would do better apart from God and so his first sin was a simple act of disobedience, essentially denying God’s godhood by denying His authority. And so the chief aspect of the state of Original Sin that we’re all born into now is spiritual separation from God, a separation we may well prefer, truth be told. But we’re here in this life to come to learn of our need for God and how to get back to Him, with His help.
In any case we don’t become righteous in God’s eyes merely by acting obedient to His Law; rather the first act of righteousness for us is to return to Him, in humble faith, which should then proceed to the first public profession or act of that faith, Baptism. There He washes us, makes us new creations, and indwells us, beginning a work of making us obedient to His Law, to the extent that we cooperate. So faith is the establishment-or reestablishment-of the union between man and God that man was made for. That union is our justice from which all other justice can blossom, as God removes our hearts of stone and replaces them with hearts of flesh (Ez 36:26). And “all other justice” is most completely summed up in the word “love”, the very image of God we’re to be transformed into, which is why the Greatest Commandments are what they are. “Love fulfills the Law” Rom 13:10
Contemplate the most important New Covenant prophecy, Jer 31:32-34:
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them."
“This is the covenant I will make with the people of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord.
“I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God, and they will be my people.
No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD.
"For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."
Anyway, love is to be our motivator, whether in causing obedience to God’s Law, or in performing good works such as those outlined in Matt 25:31-46
It’s not often I recommend Richard Rohr, but his book ‘Falling Upwards’ is a thought-provoking book on this subject. He traces the development from ‘law’ to ‘beyond law’ through scripture and in the individual lives of the faithful. He doesn’t dismiss the law; his thesis is more of us having to learn the law before we can learn when it is right to ‘break’ the law.
Which, as it turns out, is simply a link to this article on the Aleteia website.
I take this line to mean that the author is challenging us to examine ourselves carefully: do we follow rules just because they’re the rules? Or do we share the reasons for the laws in the way we act?
(So, for example… do we go to Church on Sunday only because we’re told we’re supposed to – or do we go because we want what the Church wants for us (a rich relationship with God, filled with prayer, Scripture, and the Eucharist)?)
This topic was automatically closed 14 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.