So many people look at Christianity, and especially Catholicism, as a religion of rules and regulations. You know, Thou Shalt Not this and that. Like it or not, God has rules. Unfortunately, too many people want to interpret God’s rules to fit their own beliefs. Sorry…doesn’t work that way. Both of our readings today talk about God’s laws – statutes, decrees, commandments. Call them what you will, they are still rules that we must live by.
In the first reading from Deuteronomy 4, Moses teaches “the statutes and decrees as the Lord, my God, has commanded me…Observe them carefully…” Then in the Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus says, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.” He goes on to say that “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.”
Rules are a part of life. Everything has rules – school, work, family, organizations – everything! Including religion. Many don’t want to acknowledge rules regarding the practice of the faith. Or perhaps it’s just that they don’t want to follow the rules; they don’t want to obey. Obedience is a difficult thing, especially when it challenges us, when it cuts against our nature. But obey we must. And we must teach others to obey. There will be a heavy price for disobedience. And an even heavier price for those who teach others to be disobedient. Let’s pray that God will give us the grace to obey and teach.
Father, you know how we dislike rules; we hate to be told what we should do. Give us the grace to accept and obey your laws, and to teach others to do so. Amen.
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