Both our readings at Holy Mass today touch on “the Law.”
We might reasonably wonder whether or not the New Testament actually teaches us to obey the Law. After all, St. Paul wrote to the Galatians, “You are separated from Christ, you who are trying to be justified by the Law.” And we read in St. Luke’s gospel that “the Pharisees were amazed to see that Jesus did not observe the prescribed washing before the meal.”
Must we, then, follow the rules? If we walk by pure faith, awaiting our blessed hope in Jesus, can we wear skirts above the knee? Can we talk in class, even when we’re not supposed to? Can we butt in line, as long as we believe in Jesus?
Here’s the thing. We can read the New Testament from beginning to end, and nowhere does it say that the Ten Commandments are wrong. The Law of God always demands our obedience. And good school rules, laid down by good teachers and principals, serve a good purpose—namely, that everybody get a good education.
So: No talking when you’re not supposed to, no butting in line, and no short skirts.
But: We can’t parade around like little Mr. or Miss Goody Two Shoes Pharisee, either. Everyday we have to look at a crucifix and remember: Our God and Savior died to save sinners. He forgives sinners.
The Law of God demands a lot. All of us fail sometimes. When we admit the truth, God forgives. Not only that, He gives us help from heaven so that we can do better.
If it were just us and The Rules, we would find ourselves hopelessly lost and alone. That’s what St. Paul means when he writes that no one is justified by the Law. But it’s not just us and The Rules.
God has a special plan for each of us, so that we can become exactly who He made us to be. Each individual plan unfolds with its own unique beauty and glory.
He gave us His Law to help us find our way. The Law is good. But even better is the fact that He was willing to die so that we could always have a fresh start, no matter what. A fresh start on the journey to becoming our true selves in Christ.