Written on Our Hearts
June 9, 2021 (readings)
- Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
- Carey Boyzuck
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, 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.”
Opening Prayer: Jesus, I want to obey and teach your commandments. I want to glorify you by living as your disciple and proclaiming your law of love through my thoughts, words, and actions. Help me to hear and understand your word and live it out in my daily life.
The Old and the New: The Pharisees were always watching Jesus to see if he would break the Levitical laws. It seemed to them that he was constantly pushing the boundaries of the law. This is why Jesus pointed out to his disciples that he did not come to declare the Mosaic law obsolete. In fact, as the Word of God, Jesus is the embodiment of divine law. God gave the law to the Israelites in the form of his words communicated to Moses, then written in stone: “And he gave to Moses, when he had made an end of speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, the two tables of the testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God” (Exodus 31:18). Jesus is the Word made flesh (cf. John 1:14), spoken for all eternity by God the Father (John 1:1-2). Jesus is the living, breathing law of God. God’s divine law was not nullified by Christ’s coming; it was united and perfected in him. All the promises that God made to the Jewish people throughout salvation history and recorded in the Old Testament were accomplished in Christ: “For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him” (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Training in Discipleship: God gave the Israelites the Levitical laws in order to help them learn how to be a people “of his own possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6). Before the Exodus, they had lived in Egypt for over four hundred years. They needed very specific, restrictive laws to keep them from falling back into the habits they had formed while living with the Egyptian people. They ate, learned, and worshipped as Egyptians. These laws were meant to teach them discipleship: how to love, worship, and follow the one true God. The Torah prepared God’s beloved people for the Christian life, specifically for discipleship. When Christ became man, he embodied the law and made it manifest in a new way. He also set us free from the demands of the Levitical laws in order to write the new law on our hearts, as Jeremiah prophesied: “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord” (Jeremiah 31:33-34). St. Paul taught us how the old law prepared the Jewish people for faith in Christ: “Now before faith came, we were confined under the law, kept under restraint until faith should be revealed. So that the law was our custodian until Christ came, that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a custodian; for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith” (Galatians 3:23-26). We can ask ourselves if we have truly allowed Christ to write his law on our hearts in order to be his faithful disciples. Daily Bible reading, including meditating on the readings for Mass (like praying with this reflection), is a wonderful way to allow God to write his law on your heart.
Love Fulfills the Law: Because Jesus himself is the new law that is written on our hearts, and because God is love, the new law is love. According to the Catechism, “Jesus acknowledged the Ten Commandments, but he also showed the power of the Spirit at work in their letter” (CCC 2054). Jesus added “grace and truth” (John 1:14) to the commandments when he instituted the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40). St. Paul teaches, “Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:10). We can ask ourselves if we try to fulfill God’s law each day by loving God above all things and loving our neighbors as God commands.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, my heart is yours. Please write your law on my heart so that I can know, love, and serve you as you deserve. May your law be impressed upon me daily so that I carry it within me wherever I go. May I not only be a hearer of your law but a doer of it (cf. James 1:22-23), manifesting your love and mercy in the world.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will choose one Bible verse and memorize it in order to allow you to impress your law onto my heart.
For Further Reflection: Read this article from Catholic Link: “15 Bible Verses Catholics Can Memorize.”
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