"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.'" Mt 5:17
Jesus must have been terribly confusing to the leaders of the Jews. Forever insisting that he wants only to live the Law and fulfill it, at the same time, he seems to break the law regularly. What were the Pharisees to do? If they did not challenge and condemn him, they would lose their own authority. If they did reject his teachings, they would lose the power they had over ordinary people. Their quandary, like ours, led them into impossible situations. More concerned with their own position in the community than with their role of instructing the people of God, they don't listen deeply to the Lord. Neither do we!
A life of faith is not something we put on or off at will. Neither can it be reduced to obeying legitimate authorities. Faith demands reflection, prayer and conversation with others seeking to know and follow God's law, all of which takes time away from other necessary duties in life. Too often, hoping for a simple and quick solution to complex questions, we avoid the hard work of following the Lord, and either put our foot in our mouth or kick ourselves in the shins.
It is important to remember the lesson of the Pharisees. While we can, and sometimes must, criticize church and state, it is only through reflection, prayer and honest conversation that God's will emerges.
Today, pray for the prophets in our world who remind us to live the Gospel fully.
How do you discern God's will in your life?