Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we heard the words of the Lord in the Scriptures today, we are reminded that the Law of God is a guide to help us find our way to the Lord, and is in itself a reminder of God’s ever generous love for each and every one of us. God has loved us all and cared for us, and through His love He gave us the Law to guide us, His people that we may find our way to Him.
God’s Law is not meant to be used to cause sufferings and difficulties for some and at the same time benefitting others. Neither is the Law meant to make it difficult for the people to be faithful to God. And this is why, the Lord Jesus often came head-to-head against the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law who enforced a particularly strict and rigid interpretation of the Law on the faithful.
In its long development and use, the Law of God as revealed through Moses had been interpreted, reinterpreted and modified, to suit the purposes and circumstances of the contemporary time. And as these laws were passed down from generations to generations, they came to forget why those laws were enforced and used in the first place. They failed to appreciate the context in which God placed those laws in the very beginning.
God gave His Law at the time when the Israelites and their stubbornness, their constant bickering and complaining, and lack of faith were threatening to lead many, even the whole nation away from God and into the path of rebellion and sin. Had they been allowed to walk down that path, they would have perished and been condemned by those sins they had committed. God’s love for each and every one of His people did not allow Him to let this happen just like that.
That is why, the Law as He described to Moses, and written in the Torah was in fact measures to keep the people in check and to discipline them, to help them to keep themselves in track and not lose their way. And all of these were done with the ultimate goal of reconciling God and His people, to recall all of the people of God back to His loving embrace. As we can see, it was the love of God behind everything, and love is the reason for the Law.
But over time, the Law’s intention and use have been twisted and misunderstood, as showed by how the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law imposing the harsh laws to glorify themselves as those who obeyed those regulations and rules, while excluding, ostracising and being prejudiced against those whom they deemed to be inferior and less worthy of God than themselves, for people like tax collectors and prostitutes, those who were infirm and afflicted with diseases.
They portrayed the image of a fearsome, angry and wrathful God Who was always ready to punish His people for any wrongdoings, and that the grace of God was reserved only for those like the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law. And therefore, the Lord’s different approach, set to remind all of the people of the true intention and purpose of the Law, led to great frictions between the Lord and all those who refused to listen to the truth.
The Lord sternly told those Pharisees and the teachers of the Law that their stubbornness and refusal to accept the truth of God that He Himself had brought before them were indeed horrible. He presented before them that the Lord would want to heal the sick, and those who needed His help, even on the Sabbath itself. For many of the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, interpreting the Law strictly to the letter out of context, they would rather leave the suffering to suffer and perish rather than to reach out and help.
This is what all of us must not behave like, brothers and sisters in Christ. We must not allow such legalistic thoughts and elitist behaviour to influence or dominate us. Instead, through what St. Paul told to the people in Philippi in our first reading today, all of us ought to live in the love of God, and share that love with one another. God’s love is equally shared with all, even with the most wicked ones, and so long as they are willing to repent and turn away from their sins, they will be forgiven all the same.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, each and every one of us as Christians are called to reflect on this to see how we can live our lives in a more Christ-like manner, to be true Christians in how we live, and in how we interact with one another. Indeed, all of us are called to love in the same way as just how God has loved us. But many of us had not been able to do so. And we must then remember that the Law of God, especially His Ten important Commandments, are all about love, loving God first and foremost, and loving our fellow brothers and sisters in the same way.
Are we able and willing to do this, brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we willing to show care, love and compassion on our fellow brethren, especially those who need our love and care? Let us all discern carefully what we can do as Christians, to dedicate ourselves and our efforts for the benefit of our brothers and sisters. When there is need for love, let us show it to them and do what we can to bring God’s love to those who need them.
May the Lord bless us all and may He strengthen us all with the resolve to show care and concern for our fellow brethren, at all times, to love God with all of our hearts and to be faithful always. Amen.