In a number of Paul’s letters, he writes about the law and faith. He wants to bring across the point that the Mosaic Law (Jewish legal obligations) was now superseded by faith in Christ.
Religion unfortunately tends to veer towards legalities and formalities, rules and regulations, laws and decrees. Paul grew up a Jew and was subject to over 360 binding laws. The Book of Leviticus, chapter by chapter, outlies duties, laws and requirements necessary for believers. Following these laws indicated the extent a person was considered ‘religious.’
However, through our baptism we are believers and through the grace of God’s Holy Spirit we become righteous in faith. As Paul writes in today’s Reading, ‘we are slaves not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit’ (v6).
A mature person does not require religious laws to behave civilly. A person who belongs to Christ, discerns what is best through prayer and the modelling of Jesus. Religious people become an imitation of Christ through the grace of the Holy Spirit received at baptism.
It is time to grow as Christians. To do away with restrictive and binding laws that encourage obedience at the expense of maturity. It is time to do away with total focus on religious laws that distance one from deep self-reflection. It is now time to live in the grace of God, to choose freely, to take responsibility and to grow more intimately in Christ. Then we will have reached mature religiousness. Amen
3 Feb 2019
4th week of Epiphany
Sr Margaret Ghosn