Wednesday 14 June 2023 Week 10 in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 3:4-11
Before God, we are confident of this through Christ: not that we are qualified in ourselves to claim anything as our own work: all our qualifications come from God. He is the one who has given us the qualifications to be the administrators of this new covenant, which is not a covenant of written letters but of the Spirit: the written letters bring death, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the administering of death, in the written letters engraved on stones, was accompanied by such a brightness that the Israelites could not bear looking at the face of Moses, though it was a brightness that faded, then how much greater will be the brightness that surrounds the administering of the Spirit! For if there was any splendour in administering condemnation, there must be very much greater splendour in administering justification. In fact, compared with this greater splendour, the thing that used to have such splendour now seems to have none; and if what was so temporary had any splendour, there must be much more in what is going to last for ever.
Psalm 98 You are holy, O Lord our God.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.’
What is the purpose of the law? Does it exist as a living breathing creature in its own right? Or is the law a process that serves the humanity who wrote it. Let us not confuse the written codes that govern us, with the law of God.
Jesus puts the law of God very simply for us, in Matthew 22:37, he says, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
So, in the Gospel of today we are reminded that love of God and neighbour are the pin on which the whole law hangs. Yes, Jesus makes clear, “not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved”. The purpose of the written law is to guide us into the way of loving God and neighbour. All the canons of the Church and the sacramental rubrics are not meant to be limitations to freedom, or to enforce uniformity, but to orient us in the direction of our primary purpose – love of God and neighbour.
We can, furthermore, recognise that fulfilling the law is a profoundly social responsibility. Should we follow laws that are unjust or against the Spirit, not serving God or our neighbour?
This of course is what Paul means by saying, “this new covenant, which is not a covenant of written letters but of the Spirit: the written letters bring death, but the Spirit gives life.” And the Spirit that gives life, gives life to all those who come to her.
Romans 13 says, “Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Galatians 5 says, “through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Let us then be obedient to the Spirit of Love, and by doing so we can do no wrong.