Law Must Lead To Love
When I was a seminarian, our rector would post a note one week before the final exams week advising us to study hard and to take care of our health. At the end of the note he would write, “During final exam week, nobody is allowed to get sick!” Of course we knew it was written tongue-in-cheek. But getting sick is hard to control. All we can do is avoid it as best as we can.
In the Gospel today, it seems that the leader of the synagogue, in his desire to implement the Sabbath, was serious in legislating when to heal the sick. Because Jesus cured on a Sabbath, he said to the crowd, “There are six days when work should be done. Come on those days to be cured, not on Sabbath Day.” But Jesus would have nothing of it. For Him, the sick should be attended to immediately. For Him, Sabbath was made for man and not man for Sabbath. He showed the leader the real spirit behind the law on Sabbath. Yes, there must be a day dedicated to worshiping God, but the law of love prevails. Jesus called the synagogue leaders hypocrites because they, too, broke the Sabbath — not for a neighbor, but for an ox or an ass. For them, caring for their animals was more important than the curing of a woman bound by Satan for 18 years.
Laws are important. Even God gave us the Ten Commandments as guide to our journey to His Kingdom. Laws help us obtain discipline, and constant adherence to the law imbibes in us the spirit of the law. Once we obtain the discipline, our lives become free of the law. The law now becomes our way of life. It is similar to using a map to find our way in an unfamiliar place. The more we frequent a place, the more it gets familiar to us. Eventually, we will no longer need a map.
Christian life includes following some laws. Going to Sunday Mass regularly should hopefully lead us to appreciating its value in our life. Every part of the Mass should slowly lead us to a deeper understanding of it. Every Sunday that we encounter Jesus in His Word, in His Body, in His priest, and in our neighbors, we gain a closer and meaningful relationship with God. When we no longer see Sunday Masses as a burden but a celebration, then the law has now been replaced with love. Fr. Benny Tuazon
Do you see laws as absolute standards in life? Do you follow laws, especially the laws of God, blindly? Can you transcend the law out of love?
Your laws of love are above every law that man has ever made. Fill my heart with Your love, Lord, that I may be always a good abider.
St. Daria, pray for us.
Special thanks to Fr. Benny Tuazon for sharing this wonderful and inspiring words.