The Good News for the day, March 7, 2018
Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent (239)
Jesus says to people he has inspired: “Don’t think that I have come to get rid of the law or the prophets. I have come not to get rid of them but to make sense of them. The truth as I see it for you is this: until sky and ground are gone, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from directions given on how to do things—until absolutely everything is covered. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these ways to do things right and teaches others to do that will get called least in the Other Realm. But whoever obeys and teaches these ways to do right will be called greatest in the Other Realm.” (Matthew 5)
Although Jesus seems to preach freedom from ‘laws” requiring external behavior, here, He insists on obeying law.
You and I think law is something a legislator writes down to control our behavior—stop at stop lights, pay taxes, etc. Or it is the “torah/law” of religion—the rules of morality and behavior in the Bible and the church.
But, perhaps this passage calls you and me to be aware of all the rules of life—interior and exterior. An interior Law makes me insist on my superiority over others. A Law seems to require lashing back in anger at attacks. A Law want to confine us to our comfort zone. A Law seems to require us to be seen and appreciated. These vague interior laws seem to influence people much more than human legislation.
Now, these rules are not written; they are cultural, instinctive, genetic even.
These laws we cannot get rid of—not do we want to. We need to tame them, make sense of them and use them for the World—the Kingdom of God—our Father wants to create here. THAT is the meaning of “fulfilling” laws. Some laws are small; others large. Some from God, others not—we need to examine what rules govern our lives.
We cannot abolish these rules—we don’t want to—but we can deal with them.
As adults, you and I come to appreciate that virtually all our lives we spend responding to directives we are not awake to—not realizing that we obey and disobey what others tell us to do. Finding Jesus is often to realize this blindness.
Lent is a time of reflection—to consider which Law governs us. Is it the Law of Love–to cherish and respond to truth, creation, and life? Or—do we live obeying laws hostile to God—choosing mere habit, my own safety, security, and profit, my own fears and anger? Lent suggests we find God’s laws which free us from that life—not obeying what confines us to it. We are called to “fulfill” law by sifting it this way.