Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My yoke is easy and my burden is light

“If God would have wanted us to live in a permissive society He would have given us Ten Suggestions and not Ten Commandments.”

Gospel text (Mt 5:17-19): Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

Today’s readings strongly emphasize the importance of God’s laws. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus makes it clear to his disciples that the law of the Old Testament still stands. Although people of Jesus’ time may have thought that Jesus came to replace the rules of the Old Testament, Jesus states that he did not come to erase God’s commandments or to open a “back door” into heaven for his followers. Rather, Jesus came to challenge us all not only to follow God’s commandments, but to lead others to follow them as well.

How often in life do we simply go through the motions of being Christian? Sitting in Mass on Sundays, saying a quick prayer at night before falling asleep, giving up sweets or Facebook for Lent without really thinking about what Lent is all about. Jesus challenges us all to enter more fully into God’s laws. What is it that God is actually calling us to in life? What does following God’s laws, God’s commandments really mean, and how does it change our lives? We should not simply go through the motions of Christianity. Rather, as Jesus calls us to do, we must follow and enter fully into God’s commandments.

In life, we all meet hypocrites: people who promote something while not even following it themselves. The typical response to a hypocrite is as follows: “Well, I’m definitely not going to do what you’re telling me to do!” The same goes for Christianity. If we want to truly lead others towards Jesus by following God’s commandments, we cannot simply follow the rules, because people will recognize that we are not being sincere. Instead, we must enter into God’s commandments so that faith is not only going through the actions, but an easily recognized part of our lives.

Let us each take a few moments to think about ways that we can enter more fully into God’s kingdom. Are we following God’s commandments because we have to? Or have we allowed God’s commandments to enter into our lives? God wants us all to obey his commandments and lead others to follow him; he wants us to be called greatest in his Kingdom!

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