Posts Tagged ‘Law of Love’

Matthew 5: God’s Yardstick – The Law of Love – Part VI

Jesus The Word and LawJava Printing

Sunday, January 22, 2023

We continue to see God’s yardstick in the New Testament, rising from the covenant in the Old Testament.

Often when a group begins a gathering in prayer and reads Christ’s Beatitudes, the leader will trail off after the “blessed” verses, omitting the last words Jesus gives un on persecution. This may be in error. By forgetting the final verses, we think only about the irony of verses 3 through 9 and that irony seldom fulfills or satisfies. The true paradox of Christ can only be seen when we include the final two verses that speak about the paradox of joy being gained through suffering. To recite the first seven blessings without the last two is to tell the Gospel story ending at the crucifixion and omitting the Resurrection, the road to Emmaus, the meal shared with the apostles along the bank of the sea, the return of Christ to the Upper Room, the Ascension, and finally the descent and in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing lasting if we neglect the last two verses. The prayer becomes hollow. And so we pray . . .

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Beatitude is blessing. Beatitude is happiness.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Beatitude is a gift freely given by God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you falsely on my account.

The desire for beatitude is written on each of our hearts by God.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


Cosimo Roselli: Jesus Delivers the Eight Beatitudes

Beatitude is a promise that challenges us to make moral choices. It is a covenant that invites us to purify our hearts, to seek God, and to rest serenely in beatific joy with God . . . because God alone is enough.

Tomorrow, concluding our reflections on the Law of Love.

When we spend time with Matthew 5, we explore the idea that we are salt and light, and we give ourselves the opportunity to unfold Christ’s wondrous Law of Love. 

Images from: https://marlinharris.wordpress.com/2013/07/10/the-beatitudes-the-conclusion-part-1-of-2/ and http://www.patrickcomerford.com/2011/01/matthew-5-1-12-eight-beatitudes.html

Adapted from a favorite written on January 5, 2007. 



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Matthew 5: God’s Yardstick – The Law of Love – Part I

Happiness and the Beatitudeslaw-of-love

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

In these opening days of a new year, we have looked at women in scripture who see and use God’s yardstick in their lives. Over the next few days we explore how we find God’s yardstick in both Old and New Scripture.

As we move from the Old Testament to the New, God is moving us away from the external, vengeful, jealous, patriarchal God to a God of the internal. Through the prophet, God promises us a new covenant to replace the old. The Lord says, “The time is coming when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah.  It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand and led them out of Egypt. I will put my law within them and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people”. (Jeremiah 31:31-33)

God who writes the covenant of love on our hearts, also comes among us a human. God who promises to redeem and save, also comes to dwell within as Spirit. In the Old Testament, God rewards good people and punishes the bad in order to gain their trust. In the New Testament, God calls us to spiritual maturity, God calls us to perfect union, to deep intimacy (Psalms 42 and 62). In the New Testament God asks that we accept the Creator, the giver . . . rather than the gifts.

love-one-anotherJeff Cavins, in his lecture on Matthew 5, outlines four levels of happiness: 1) instant gratification, 2) personal achievement, 3) philanthropy, and 4) union with God. The first two are about the self; the second two are about the other. Level one concerns the ego and what it can find, acquire or possess. Level two refers to awards we receive. Both of these levels give immediate satisfaction but are not lasting because, as scripture points out, we are created for more than this. In Level three we begin to move outside of ourselves to care about others, but this still is not lasting, not beatific. It is when we arrive at Level four that we find real happiness, real communion with our creator, intimate union with God. This is the union for which we are created. This is the Law of Love that supersedes the Mosaic Law of the Covenant. This is the measure with which God measures creation.

Tomorrow, The Sermons on the Mount and the Plain.

Adapted from a Favorite written on January 5, 2007.

Jeff Cavins visit: http://jeffcavins.com/

Images from: https://edifier1.wordpress.com/tag/the-law-of-love-lessons-from-the-pages-of-deuteronomy/ and https://www.huttobible.com/a-year-through-the-new-testament/post/2-john-1-a-simple-request:-love-one-another

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Matthew 5:43-48: Teaching on Love of Enemiesloveyourenemies1

Friday, April 29, 2022

You have heard it said: You shall love your friend and hate your enemy . . .

This is the law that pulls the weed away from the wheat. This is the law that sees no potential but sees only hopelessness. This is the law that refuses to believe in hope.

But I say to you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you . . .

This is the Law of Love that allows the darnel to grow among the wheat and that allows God to make the harvest. This is the Law Jesus enacts for us. This is the Law the Spirit plants in our hearts. This is the Law we celebrate as we remember God’s gift of the Easter miracle.

God says: I fully understand how difficult this Law of Love is for you and it is for this reason that I come to walk among you each day and night. It is for this reason that I have explained to you how I fulfill the words of my prophets. It is for this reason that my Spirit speaks with and for you when you find yourselves among your enemies. It is for this reason that I protect and guide you as you work to build my kingdom. It is for this reason that I sacrifice all for you . . . so that you might rest in my love forever. When you are anxious, worried, frightened or even terrified, call on me, and remember this teaching. It will not come upon you suddenly . . . you must begin to practice it each day in small ways. Begin with a small gesture, a small prayer, and small petition in favor of your enemy. And rely on me. I will never fail . . . and therefore neither will you.

Enter the words darnel or enemies or Gathering In in to the blog search bar and explore.

Click on the image above for a sermon about Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Jesus’s words as recorded in Matthew and reflect on how God harvests.

Let us determine to include our enemies in our daily petitions. Let us continue to ask God to speak for and with us when we are in the presence of evil. And let us consider how and why we harvest as we continue our Eastertide abiding in the Easter miracle.

Tomorrow, Jesus’ teaching on almsgiving.

Image from: https://skokiecentralchurch.wordpress.com/2014/02/23/2014-02-23-rules-for-relationships-part-2-love-your-enemies-matthew-5-38-48/

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Matthew 5:38-42: Teaching on Retaliationlove heart afire

Thursday, April 28, 2022

We humans often reject Jesus’ teaching about revenge. Whether we practice this teaching or struggle to understand it, this Eastertide is the season to open ourselves to God’s word anew.

To better understand the Law of Love as Jesus describes it, read different versions of these verses using the scripture link above, spend time with the Vengeance Noontime. Enter the word Revenge into the blog search bar and explore. Read the opening to Paul’s second letter to Timothy and consider how we might be bold with God’s gifts.

retaliationAnd consider how we might bring the Law of Love to our daily prayers, thoughts and actions.

Tomorrow, Jesus’ describes how we might love our enemies.

Images from: http://wallpaper-kid.com/blue-fire-heart-wallpaper.htm and https://www.pinterest.com/jacs491stuff/self-control/

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Matthew 5:17-20

Teaching about the Law – A Repriselaw-of-love

Easter Saturday, April 23, 2022

We humans rarely understand how the new law of the Beatitudes brings the Mosaic Ten Commandments to fulfillment. We who hope to testify to the Easter miracle struggle to comprehend the depth of God’s love for creation. We who want to enact the Gospel in our daily actions look for a present-day structure to lend us strength.

To better understand the Law of Love as Jesus sees it, read different versions of these verses using the scripture link above, enter the words Teaching on the Law in the blog search bar. Click on the image above to reflect on the importance of forgiveness in our lives. And consider how we might bring the Law of Love to our daily prayers, thoughts and actions.

Tomorrow, Jesus’ teaching about anger.

Image from: http://www.riseearth.com/2011/07/forgiveness-and-law-of-love.html

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Deuteronomy 4:1-2

I am Charging Youscroll shema

Saturday, February 19, 2022

Moses says to his people: So now, Israel, give heed to the statutes and ordinances that I am teaching you to observe, so that you may live to enter and occupy the land that the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. You must neither add anything to what I command you nor take away anything from it, but keep the commandments of the Lord your God with which I am charging you.

Jesus tells the hypocritical leaders of his time, and he tells us today, that no matter the number of religious rules and practices we might proscribe, with God there is one Law that supersedes all others. But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40)

God says: When you find yourself caught up in the details of my Law, you can be certain that what you have focused on is something I do not have in mind. My kingdom is one of forgiveness, of healing and of love for all – even, and especially, our enemies. Do as I do – call to those who would harm you. Do as Jesus does – witness to the hypocrisy in the world. Do as the Spirit does – heal the suffering and anxiety you see in your world. With all of this, you will find great peace. Through all this, you will experience deep serenity. Because of all this, you are my great love in the world.

When we spend time today with these verses and reflect on their meaning, we may discover what portion of our lives we withhold from God. And we may also discover how we honestly and fully love God with all we think, all we believe, all we say and all we do.

To learn more about the mezuzah above and The Shema, the most sacred of Jewish prayers, visit: http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Scripture/Torah/The_Shema/the_shema.html 

Image from: http://www.jewishsource.com/itemdy00.asp?T1=291492

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Thursday, February 3, 2022law-of-love

Malachi 2

The Law of Being

This brief prophecy was written just as the Jewish people were about to return to Jerusalem from their Babylonian exile.  It gives us a view of life among these people at a time full of intense anticipation and great promise; yet Malachi warns of potential problems.  “It is likely that the author’s trenchant criticism of abuses and religious indifference in the community prepared the way for . . . necessary reforms.  The chosen people had made a sorry return for God’s love.  The priests, who should have been leaders, had dishonored God by their blemished sacrifices . . . The author then turns from priests to people, denouncing their marriages with pagans and their callous repudiation of Israelite wives”.  (Senior 1170)

I once heard a lecture about this prophecy in which this axiom was stated: A friend is one who wishes us better rather than wishing us well.  The prophet understands the importance of learning from the obstacles in life and he likens our earthly existence to a smith’s crucible in which the concentrated heat of living allows impurities to rise up and fall away . . . leaving the true metal shining and beautiful.

Our very nature requires us to be interested in others.  When there is something beautiful within us, we desire to communicate it to others.  When we see others who are worse off than we are, we desire to help them with something of ours.  This need is so original, so natural, that it is within us before we are conscious of it.  We call is the law of existence.  We do charitable work to satisfy this need.  We become ourselves to the extent that we live this need and this requirement.  Msgr. Luigi Giussani – MAGNIFICAT Meditation July 9, 2009

Msgr. Giussani sees people differently from the Malachi perspective.  He sees the potential that God sees in us, the potential that Christ came to reveal to and in each of us.  He continues . . .

We do charitable work so that we may learn to fulfill the task of becoming ourselves.  But it is Christ who enabled us to understand the ultimate reason for this, revealing the ultimate law of being and of life: charity. 

Malachi speaks to people who have abandoned the women of their tribes to intermarry with non-believers, they have even abandoned their covenant agreement with God.  Reforms ensue, measures are taken, albeit harsh ones, to rectify wrongs.  It is a brutal story.

Christ, in giving his total self over to the creator, works to bring us to our full potential in himself, through himself . . . so that we might be one with him.  This too, is the Law of Being . . . The New Law of Love.

Senior, Donald, ed. THE CATHOLIC STUDY BIBLE. New York, Oxford University Press, 1990.1170. Print.   

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 9.7 (2009). Print.

Adapted from a Favorite written on July 9, 2009.  

For more reflections on this prophecy, enter the word Malachi in the blog search bar and explore. 

Image from: http://www.riseearth.com/2011/07/forgiveness-and-law-of-love.html

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Ezekiel 19: Joy and Allegorylions

Tuesday November 16, 2021

Commentary tells us that the meaning of these two allegories has been lost but that scholars believe the two young cubs in the first refer to princes who were deported to Egypt and to Babylon (likely Jehoahaz and Zedekiah), and that the mother vine represents Judah.  Ezekiel already knows that Jerusalem has been destroyed and perhaps he writes these two metaphors in order to convey the trauma of the event.  We will never know; yet what we do know is this: Even though this prophet writes of a nation whose roots have been destroyed forever, yet he holds out hope for a new arising, for a rebirth, for restoration, for another coming.  In 37:24-28 he tells us: My servant David shall be prince over them, and there shall be one shepherd for them all; they shall live by my statutes and carefully observe my decrees.  They shall live on the land which I gave to my servant Jacob . . . I will make them a covenant of peace; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them, and I will multiply them, and put my sanctuary among them forever.  My dwelling shall be with them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 

If we choose, we might write our own allegory, describing how and why we elect to follow this God who promises much and who never forgets his promises.

God’s dwelling has been made among us, just as he has promised.

In this season in which we anticipate the coming joy of Advent, let us celebrate his coming.

The shoot from the stalk of Jesse has come to shepherd us.

In this season of hope as we gather in the fall harvest, let us rise to walk with this God.

A covenant of peace has been made with us.

In this season of coming peace of Advent, let us share the good news of this coming and this covenant.

God’s Law of Love is written on our foreheads and on our hearts.

In the coming season of Advent love, let us share this love with others – especially those who do us harm. 

We have our God, and we are God’s people.

In the coming season of Advent possibility, let us dare to be one with this God. 

And may Christ’s peace and joy and love be upon us all.  Amen.

For notes on Ezekiel 19 click on the image above, or visit: http://www.lorisreflections.com/god-lessons/friday-revelation-lament-israel/

A Favorite from December 12, 2009. Adapted and re-posted today.

Image from: http://www.lorisreflections.com/god-lessons/friday-revelation-lament-israel/

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Wednesday, September 1, 2021

hands childressEzekiel 33:7-9

Saving Souls

We turn to the words of the prophet Ezekiel as we react to Jeremiah’s indictment of evil in the world. Yesterday we reflected on how God calls each of us to kingdom-building. Today we reflect on how this kingdom might come about.

If I tell the wicked, “O wicked one, you shall surely die”, and you do not speak out to dissuade the wicked one from his way, the wicked shall die for his guilt, but I will hold you responsible for his death. But if you warn the wicked, trying to turn him from his way, he shall die for his guilt, but you shall save yourself.

Saint James tells us: If anyone among you should stray from the truth and someone bring him back, he should know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death. (James 5:19-20)

Saint Paul reminds the Romans and us: Love does no evil to the neighbor. (Romans 13:10)

God says: I see many of you undermining the kingdom; yet I see many more of you working to build it up. I want each of you to find her way, or his way to work for and with me. For many of you it is to speak aloud the words I send to you. For others it is to quietly and persistently implement the simple words of my Law of Love. For still others it is to make a loud and banging noise about injustice. And for yet others it is to untiringly appear wherever the wicked tear down vineyard walls to plant new vines again. This is not complicated. It is, in fact, simple. What is complicated is bringing all that you are and all that you have to bear on this one point: there is no greater kingdom than mine; there is no greater love than mine; there is no greater joy than mine . . . in you. Again I invite you to the tireless but rewarding work of the kingdom, for when you join me, you save your soul . . . and those of countless others.

Rather than hide in despair, we step into the light. Rather than wail in sorrow, we take up our task. Rather than gnash our teeth and beat our chests . . . we trust God, pray for those who need our intercession, and join all those whom God has called to the saving of souls.

Image from: http://christianstandard.com/2012/07/meeting-needs-saving-souls/

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