Thursday the 10th Week of the Year.
The life of Jesus goes far beyond the literal interpretation of the Law. The spirit of the Law puts us in relationship with our Lord and one another.
We saw a little bit yesterday
that Jesus is not only concerned
with the literal interpretation of the Mosaic Law.
As a teacher, he is faithful to the spirit of the Law as well.
The literal interpretation – “You must do this,” –
“You must not do that,” pertains to our behavior and actions.
It gives directions to what we say and do in a given situation.
It’s a strength and a comfort to know
that we are doing the right thing
and avoiding the wrong thing.
People who follow only a literal interpretation
can quickly become very satisfied with themselves.
They can easily pat themselves on the back
as the Pharisee did in the front of the Temple
telling God all the wonderful things that he had done.
(See Luke 18:9-14).
He lacked the spirit of the law
that puts us in a relationship with the Lord
and other people.
The spirit of the law challenges us
to reflect on our interior sentiments
when something happens to us.
The letter of the law says we shall not kill.
But Jesus teaches us that the spirit of the law
compels us not even to be angry with another person,
or we will be liable to judgment.
The fruit of this choice creates in us different kinds of hostile emotions.
Our thoughts and imagination run wild
convincing us of why we are so right,
and our enemy is so wrong.
And notice our feelings of anger, resentment, bitterness, and hatred
grow so much in us we can’t even stand the thought of the person?
The person is as good as the dead in our hearts.
By God’s grace, we can forgive anyone
if we go to the back of the Temple and kneel down,
beat our breasts like the publican in the parable,
and pray from the inner core of our hearts,
“Lord have mercy on me a sinner.”
We cannot get rid of these negative feelings,
thoughts, and behaviors by just willing it.
But our Savior can when we humble ourselves
in the presence of his Divine Mercy.
Give Jesus an opportunity to make our hearts new.