Saturday, August 24, 2013

You make known to me the path of life

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:12

At many levels our Sacred Scriptures are pretty hard to exactly understand. We have all sorts of barriers–cultural, translations across multiple ancient languages, convoluted grammar and missing punctuation, sinful wayward hearts–and a devil lurking, ever eager to toss flaming darts of discord and distraction. We start shouting and thumping text and take our eyes off of Him and His.

And that Law has lots of ugly bits that are very hard to mesh with our understanding of the Loving Father God who waits for the Prodigal with open arms and Who leaves the ninety and nine to search for the lost sheep because it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish with the Lawgiver who commands the people of Israel to take the women as plunder after killing all the men by sword.

And how do I answer this week’s question from Marco: So why should people believe those particularly horrible Laws as misinterpreted and the nicer ones as representing God’s message to His people?

Jesus.  The Catechism answer. When small children raise their hands and shout, “I know, I know.”

Jesus is God come to earth to proclaim and clarify God’s message to His people.  To clear away all the misunderstandings. He spoke it, He lived it, He gave ever-so-many-memorable examples and stories, and He affirmed what was clear to the rich young ruler who had spent a lifetime in study in order to be pitch-perfect: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.

Jesus Who Did Not Come to Abolish the Law, but to fulfill it.  The Law describes our absolute smashed filthiness. Not a hope of doing it all on our own.  Or any of it, really.  Helpless.  Even those religious sorts who added heaps and heaps of directions that detailed the outward appearances, but could not touch the heart. Only One knows the heart of the Father.  Because they are One. And He gathered up all of that longest of scrolls scribbled with our failure and bore it on his slashed shoulders.  Forever and ever It is finished. 

This is the plumb line to which we line up our understanding.  And if it is crooked, we know who needs to readjust.