Saturday, March 11, 2017

Saturday of the First Week
The Law and Love: conflicting or complementary?  Whenever we encounter Scripture readings about the Law, particularly the ones about following the last letter of the law, I bristle at the image of God as stringent, hard-nosed enforcer of rules.

The reading from Deuteronomy today is the conclusion of one part of Moses’ instruction to the Israelites as they make their way to the Promised Land. He has smashed the tablets of the Ten Commandments after returning from Mount Horeb to find them worshipping the golden idol, and now the many facets of the law are being spelled out again in bewildering detail—14 chapters’ worth (Deut. 12-26)! But in this final section, there is an interesting choice of words: Moses exhorts the people to observe the statutes “with all your heart and all your soul.” It seems to be a call to go beyond the letter of the law; to invest oneself fully and observe the law out of love.

Observance of the law seems to be regarded as the basis for the covenant between God and Israel: as long as Israel obeys the law, Yahweh will be their God and he promises to favor them above other nations. Again, a concept that jars our sensibilities. Should not God be the God of all people and raise all up? Clearly, Jesus opens up the invitation to people of every nation to be sons and daughters of God.

And, in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus lays out a new and deeper vision of the Law. In particular, today He asks us to obey the law of love in a radical way: “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  God sustains the just and the unjust, our friends and our enemies with sunshine and rain. Is it perhaps in the hope that all will one day embrace His Law of Love and learn to act with love toward one another? Can we learn to live that Law?

Dear Lord, write the Law of Love in my heart, and help me to learn to love as You do. Amen.

Zsuzsanna Kadas, Professor of Mathematics

First Reading: Deuteronomy 26:16-19
Psalm 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8
Gospel: Matthew 5:43-48

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

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