Sunday, March 8, 2015

Law and Love

Third Sunday of Lent – Year B

Exodus 20:1-17

John 2:13-25

One year, I had a job proofreading law books. Hundreds and hundreds of pages of laws: lists of rules for everyone living in one of the fifty United States.  Doing this work required precision and deep attention to detail for many hours at a time. Some people glaze over at the mere thought of reading the law closely and attentively; others find it to be deeply rewarding and relevant as they set out to apply those laws to the messy reality of real life in our world.

Today’s Gospel reading sets out a listing of such laws. The story of Moses delivering the commandments echoes across our history as a people of faith. Many of us memorized them in our early religious education days, and most of us can quote at least a few of them directly from memory.

But where’s the inspiration in them? Where’s the charism? What spiritual gifts are evident in such a listing?

Two things come to mind:

First, where would we be without the people whose charisms include knowledge?

This spiritual gift consists of “a special grace to seek, collect, organize or analyze information or data to effectively advance the good and growth of God’s people and the mission of Christ” as defined in the booklet, Uniquely His.  The people whose gifts include knowledge bring the entire Body of Christ the form and infrastructure that allows us to stand on structures and foundations of consistency and strength.

The ability to further engage law and knowledge with wisdom, to bring deep perspective and meaningful practice of knowledge into the world, gifts the Church with the ability to be an organized and connected group of people who strive to practice together the mission and vision of God’s presence in our world.

Thank goodness for the people with knowledge as their charism, for they are the structurers of our practices as we strive constantly to embody the loving presence of God!

Secondly, we find in Jesus’ example a new covenant and a new perspective on the law, as witnessed in today’s Gospel reading.  Those who are overly zealous for fulfilling the letter of the law are called to task as he reminds us the law exists to bring fuller meaning and love to the world.  His call to cease making his Father’s house a marketplace reminds us of the spiritual gifts of wisdom, hospitality and true intercession requiring not costly false sacrifices, but faithful prayer that moves mountains.

Who do you know who embodies the spiritual gifts evident in the readings of today?  How can you affirm those gifts and call them forth for service to the greater good of your community this week?

Thank you to Paula Kampf, Retreat Facilitator for the Joyfully Gifted program in the Diocese of Cleveland for contributing this week’s blog post. 

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