gospel reflection

Jesus and the Law

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Jesus is clear in our Gospel this weekend – He is a supporter of the Law. – God’s law. Indeed it’s only in following the precepts of the law that true community will flourish. WE also know from history that when those simple precepts left too much room for interpretation, Moses delivered hundreds more laws to keep the Israelites from falling into sin, apostasy, and division. Eventually, however, the Israelites did what we : all do — they saw the law as the end in itself and used it to justify their own actions while condemning those who transgressed, even by minute amounts. Rather than see the loving purpose of the law, God’s people missed the forest for the trees and clung to the law itself rather than the laws purpose. So eventually the Law led to schism and separation rather than unity. In this weeks Gospel Jesus makes clear the challenge and the nature of true fellowship within the law. There are four examples Jesus uses to remind His disciples about salvation within the law; murder, adultery, divorce, and fraud — all actions of serious disunity and damage to the whole community. These are serious crimes, true, but Jesus tells that community that they’ve missed the point of the law. It’s not just to allow people to be punished for their transgressions, but to form the hearts of the people so that they reject even the precepts for those actions. It is not enough merely to follow the law by our actions; we need to let the Lord write them on our hearts, that spiritual core where our intellect and will combine. When we do, we enter into solidarity with one another and harmony with God, who loves us and provides the law for that purpose.

Fr John

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