Rules, so many rules. At first glance, you, too, will probably notice today’s readings are chock full of rules. Of laws to be adhered to. Of actions we are to take: Feed the hungry. Don’t oppress your neighbor. Clothe the naked. No slandering. Don’t bear grudges.
Being an oldest child, I tend to be a rule follower, yet there’s still that selfish, independent part of me that cringes at someone telling me what to do. I can appreciate structure, but I’m more likely to have my heart in my actions if I have a reason for its importance.
No one could deny following these rules would result in social good and neighborly friendliness. But there’s more here. There is also the Why.
Why do we seek to bow our lives down to the laws and guidelines laid down? In our inmost beings, we cannot deny that God’s law is perfect. Leviticus answers the ‘why’ over and over with God’s response: “I am the Lord.” Then in the Gospel, it is made clear that what we do for others, we are doing for Christ.
Our obedience must flow directly from our hearts. In self denial and submission to the law, we must act in love. We are given the what and the how, but we are responsible for making sure our actions flow out of our why. Our love for Christ must be our motivation for our rule following.
Do you find following rules an easy thing or a difficult? Is it trying for you to adhere to the ones the Bible and the Church make clear for us? Have you found the beauty in obeying them out of love for our Savior?
May we start our days with asking God, “How can I love today?” and end them by reflecting on “Did I love today?”
Sarah Ortiz is a Catholic convert, and when not folding laundry, she can be found reading, experimenting in the kitchen, or writing at her blog. You can find out more about her here.