We U.S. Catholics are a bit allergic to rules! “Too many rules” is one of the reasons people give for leaving the Church. This week and next, we are going to hear about commandments! Maybe we struggle to affirm the truth of the first line of our first reading: “if you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you … (Sirach 15:15).” There are reasons why keeping commandments and other spiritual “rules” save us: they keep us from killing our relationships. They warn us when we are doing something that endangers our relationships. Marriages disintegrate if spouses don’t spend quality time together; people drift from Church affiliation if they don’t show up regularly — so that’s why it is a commandment of the Church that Catholics attend weekly Eucharist! Human and godly wisdom is behind good rules. That’s why Jesus says in the Gospel today: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law … but to fulfill [it].” It takes some interior work to discover how the rules that sometimes seem burdensome can nourish our relationships. We need to do that work if we want to be freed from feeling unfree because of rules!
- Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia