Christ’s Law: Fundamental Option For Life And Happiness
Readings: (1st: Ecc 15: 15-20; Ps 118: 1-2. 4-5; 2nd: 2Cor 2, 6-10; Gos: Matt 5:17-37)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a Member of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers (Spiritans). He is currently working with the Spiritan International Group of Puerto Rico & Dominican Republic. He is the Administrator of Parroquia La Resurrección del Senor, Canovanas and the Chancellor of the Diocesis of Fajardo-Humacao, Puerto Rico. For more details and comments contact him on: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today, the church invites us to reflect on the law of Christ. She urges us to pay attention to what she teaches us. The law of Christ is a divine law. However, it is not opposed to natural law. It is filled with wisdom and gives life to those who are faithful to it. It a product of God’s love for us. Hence, to obey it, is a fundamental option for life and happiness.
In today’s first reading, God presents us with two options, “life and death.” In other words, He gives us the freedom to choose: “If you wish, keep His commandments…Man has life and death before him, whichever he likes, will be to given him…” God created us out of his love. To guide us in life, he gave us his Law. Also, he gives us the freedom of choice. In order to make decision and choice in life, he also gave us reason to guide us.
Hence, God makes it clear that whatever choice we make in life has its consequences. If we choose to obey his laws, we shall be happy. However, if we make the wrong choice, we shall also reap its fruit. Hence, the psalmist reminds us that: “They are happy who follow God’s Law.” This means that as free beings, God never forces us. However, He encourages to make the right choice by obeying his law that gives life and happiness. Often times, in life we tend to blame God for our mistakes, even when they are a product of our choice.
In the second reading, Paul refers to the law of Christ as wisdom. In other words, to obey the commands of Christ is the wisest thing to do. Hence, it is a mark of wisdom to live by the Law of Christ. Paul differentiates this wisdom from the law of Christ from that which comes from human philosophy. This means that, the law of Christ transcends and supersedes the words of men. The wisdom that comes from the Laws of God are divinely inspired, whereas, the wisdom of men is mundane and limited. Hence, Jesus says: “What is born of the spirit is spirit and what is born of the flesh is the flesh…” (John 3, 6).
Today’s gospel from Matthew has provoked much debate among biblical scholars about what Christ meant when he says: “I have not to come to abolish the Law; but to fulfil it.” Jesus is right when he says this. The Old Testament stands firm, fulfilled and has reached its perfection in Christ. The Greek word for “fulfill” is “pleroo.” It also means “to full” or “to complete.” In light of today’s gospel, it means to fulfill what was predicted in the Old Testament. Christ fulfilled the Law (Torah) through the sacrifice of himself. Therefore, He is now the fullness of the Law. To obey him, is to obey the Law.
Therefore, Christ’s treaty is against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and the Sadducees of this present age who interpret the law falsely to the detriment of the people. It is a treaty against fake prophets, and teachers who falsely declare, “thus says the Lord,” in order to intimidate and exploit people. It is a treaty against those make life difficult for others in God’s name, while they have no regard for the law of Christ.
Finally, it is a treaty against the Pharisees of our time who pay much attention to the letters of the law, but neglect the Spirit of the Law. Christ came that we might have life, and have it in full. He came that we might be free. He is the fullness of the Law and life. To obey him is to have life and happiness in full.
Peace be with you!