30th Sun A
Christian conversion is promoted by conversation. This section is a response to and a development on the knowledge gained from the commentary section.
This Sunday's Exposition
The Purpose of Law
There were 631 recognised laws in the Jewish Torah! How could a person you possibly keep them? Unless one possessed an excellent memory coupled with an obsessive compulsive disorder, it would be a challenge. How could one balance them up, for given the messiness of life, the laws themselves would sometimes clash? And then what is the point? Does God really take pleasure in watching people jump through hoops? All in all religious laws can be dangerous as faithful adherence, kept for the wrong reason, is likely to produce people, fearful of action and critical of others.
That is why the question and answer in this Sunday’s Gospel are so important. The question, coming from the group devoted to faithful adherence to the Law, reveals that even they saw that there was a problem. The answer given by Jesus puts all law under the service of love. The first commandment Jesus gives presumes that a person has experienced the abundant love and mercy of God and therefore can respond with such consuming passion. The second presumes that a person filled with such love will offer it to all around her or him.
Under this dynamic of love, the mind is liberated from being confined to slavish adherence to rules, to doing the far more creative (and interesting) job of wisely sifting the situation and discerning the ‘right’ thing to do. Law becomes less an adherence to directions that must be followed slavishly and becomes more a recipe to guide a person to living a rich life under the guidance of the Spirit. Thus law should not something constricting life but a guide to living the fullness of life as the children of God.