Posted by: fvbcdm | June 30, 2014

Feast of the First Roman Martyrs (30 June 2014)

The concept of Law in the Old and the New Testaments is one of the richest and most fundamental concepts in all of Scripture and of Judaeo-Christian religion.

Let us remember that Abraham, the father of the Jewish people, lived about 1800 years before Christ. But for the first five of those centuries, there was no real Jewish religion, i.e., a systematized and regulated means of worshiping God and living the faith that had been revealed to the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. During that early period, the Jewish people simply knew that there was only one God, that he was a good and loving God, and that he had chosen them as a people special to himself. It was not until the exodus from Egypt and the forty-year trek through the desert of Sinai that their divinely-chosen leader, Moses, was to give them the Law, including the Ten Commandments, the rituals for divine worship, and then some other rules and regulations by which Jewish life was to be governed. As time went on, the Jewish devotion to the law kept coming up with more and more regulations until they numbered more than six hundred.

We tend to think of laws as being a burden, a nuisance, and often, a curtailment of our freedom. But you see, the Jewish view of law is quite different. For the ancient Jew, the law was God’s way of showing his love and care for his people by pointing out to them what was right and wrong, so as to guide them safely through life and keep them close to him. The Law was the indication of God’s love for his people and obedience to the law was seen as the highest indication of their love of God.

When Jesus came upon the scene, he made it clear that he was establishing a NEW LAW. It was new in the sense that it would wipe out those secondary rules and regulations which the legalistic mentality had come up with, and it would return to the basics: love of God, love of neighbor, mercy, justice, and the constant seeking for holiness. It was to be more internal and more sincere; less concerned with externals and ritualistic behavior. The great lawgiver of the Old Law was Moses; the giver of the New Law is our divine Lord himself. And if we are the Christians that we should be, heirs as we should be of the spirituality of Israel, we, too, will see the divine law as a message of God’s love for us, and we will gladly obey it as the principal means of our expressing our love for God. “If you love me,” says Our Lord, “keep my commandments.”

For us, religious law is God’s way of saying to us, “I love you.” And our obedience of that law is our way of responding by saying, “I love you, too, my God.” Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you, Father Victor Brown, O.P.

Note:  This message was composed some years ago.

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