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March 15

FOCUS:  Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.


00:00 / 03:31

Our two readings today can be viewed as complementary to each other. Moses is giving the Israelites the statutes and decrees directly from God that, if obeyed faithfully, will set the Jewish nation apart from the rest of the world. Jesus, who the Jewish leaders see as disobeying the Old Law and creating a New Law, is telling the people that He is not abolishing but “fulfilling” the Law of Moses.

Why do people tend to view the “law of God” negatively rather than positively?  For the people of Israel, the “Law” could refer to the ten commandments or to the five Books of Moses, which explain the commandments and ordinances of God for his people.  However, in Jesus’ time the original Law of Moses had been interpreted and developed to mean the oral or scribal law.  The scribes added many more things to the law than God intended.  It placed burdens on people which God had not intended.  That is why Jesus often condemned the scribal law.  Jesus, however, made it very clear that the essence of God’s law — his commandments and way of life, must be fulfilled.

Jesus, in the beatitudes and His other teachings re-focused his followers on the two great commandments to love God and love others. The law of God is truth, and when we live according to that truth it produces the fruits of righteousness, holiness, peace, and joy.  Jesus taught reverence for God’s law — reverence for God himself, for the Lord’s Day, reverence or respect for parents, respect for life, for property, for another person’s good name, respect for oneself and for one’s neighbor.  Reverence and respect for God’s commandments teach us the way of love -- love of God and love of neighbor.

If we view the ten commandments negatively, it is because we miss their purpose. The ten commandments show us the way to fulfill the two great commandments in our life. God who is Love desires us to be filled with the love of His Spirit. His commandments bring us closer to Him, and to our neighbor who will see God in us. Without the awareness of God’s Love for us, and our desire to be loved by Him, the commandments are often viewed as restrictive and taking away our personal freedom. In fact, living by God’s commandments within a loving relationship with Him gives us even more freedom and produces the fruits of righteousness, holiness, peace, and joy.

Even before we pass away to eternal life, God desires us to be one with Him. Let’s strive to live each day according to His commandments of love.

Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection

Do you love and revere the commands of the Lord as the path to union with Him?

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