Today’s First Reading, written by Paul from a jail cell, shows the beauty and depth of the statement, “I have come not to abolish the law, but fulfill it.” Paul states to Philemon that he can easily tell him what to do as a law, but instead he urges him out of love. He then goes on to say he does not want to do anything without his consent, so that the good he does is not forced, but voluntary.
I can’t help but think of the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes when I read this verse from Paul. The Ten Commandments are laws that were given because we seriously lost our way and had to be slapped in the face with basic morality, like not murdering someone. Jesus enters the scene and does not do away with the Ten Commandments, but switches the conversation from one of law to love. Blessed are the poor, blessed are those who weep, blessed are those who hunger. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Catechism 2055 tells us, “The commandments: ‘You shall not commit adultery, you shall not kill, you shall not steal, you shall not covet,’ and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”
Again, the law remains, but it is infused with love. It is fulfilled by God who is love, in the person of Jesus Christ. Paul even got this from a cell, imprisoned for preaching that very love. In possibly the darkest place of his life, he still preached the love of Christ and the importance of always remembering that love.
What is the take away for us? Do we go to Mass out of following the law or love of Christ? Do we love all people no matter what or do we tolerate some because we are required to by law? Do we pray because we are told we should or because we want to talk with God? We should be doing all of these things as much as we should be following the commandments, but if we keep love as the source and reason for these laws, then they become less like edicts and more about relationships. From all of us here at Rodzinka Ministry, God Bless!
Tommy Shultz is the Founder/Director of Rodzinka Ministry and the Director of Faith Formation for the North Allegan Catholic Collaborative. In these roles, he is committed to bringing all those he meets into a deeper relationship with Christ. Tommy has a heart and flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. With a degree in Theology from Franciscan University, Tommy hopes to use his knowledge to help all people understand the beauty of The Faith. Contact Tommy at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out his website at rodzinkaministry.com.