The law of the community

The law of the community

Readings for the Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time


Rules can be hard to follow. On the other hand, they sometimes are too easy to break. We’ve all encountered a coordinator who goes absolutely “by the book” with no leeway for context and another who doesn’t even know there is a book! Either approach misses the point about rules, and the point that Jesus tries to make today.

Jesus begins with the heart of the law on marriage, that is, love for another. This is the law’s purpose. If we lose sight of that, we distort the law for our own intent, whether it’s to keep it or bend it.

We are called to a mature faith, one that is neither simplistic nor casual, but one that always keeps the ideal in sight while loving the community and being patient with it. Click To Tweet

Rules move us beyond ourselves, connecting us to the wider community. Rules remind us that we are called to be in relationship with one another if we are to live together. If we put the rules over our care for the community, we’ve made an idol of the law. If we disregard the rules in order to please the community, we’ve disconnected ourselves from the community’s history. Instead, we are called to a mature faith, one that is neither simplistic nor casual, but one that always keeps the ideal in sight while loving the community, being patient with it, and inspiring it to move ever closer, little by little, with imperfect steps, toward the good that the law provides.

 
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”

Image credit: James Coleman, unsplash, CC0.

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