The Spirit of the Law

In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us about anger, adultery and the taking of false oaths. In each case, Jesus goes beyond what was prescribed by the Mosaic Law by teaching us the deeper meaning of these commandments. And in doing so, Jesus teaches us to observe not only the letter of the law but more importantly, the spirit of the law. When one follows the letter of the law, one follows only the literal interpretation of the words; but when one follows the spirit of the law, one follows the intent, or the will, of the author of the law. Hence, it is only when one obeys the spirit of the Ten Commandments that one obeys its author, who is God.

One of the things we must realize about anger is that it starts out as an emotion, and as such, is not sinful in itself. However, it is what one does with anger that could lead to sin. Feeling the emotion is one thing, but consenting to it is another because consent presupposes that one realizes that the act is evil and yet freely engages in it.

With regards to the prohibition of adultery in the sixth commandment, Jesus teaches us that willful looking, imagining and having impure thoughts are also sinful. The willful looking at pornography is sinful because, it violates the dignity of the human person, which is created in the image of God, by utilizing a human person’s body as a means for one’s own gratification.

The Mosaic Law also prohibited perjury or the violation of oaths. Oath-taking was so abused at the time of Christ that while oaths were taken for unimportant reasons, there were also the ridiculous justifications for breaking them. In his teaching against the taking of false oaths, Jesus lays down the criteria to re-establish trust, honor and sincerity. Jesus tells us to let our “yes” mean yes, and our “no” mean no. Human relationships can never be based on insincerity, hypocrisy or deceit.

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.” This fulfillment not only confirms the Old Testament, since God’s Word is One just as He is One, it also shows us the fullness of the New Testament, in which God reveals Himself most fully in Jesus Christ. As St. Paul tells the Galatians: “No one is justified in God’s sight by the law, for the just man lives by faith; the law does not depend on faith, for its terms are that whoever follows the law shall live by them.” We are made just and holy not by observing the letter of the law, but by observing the spirit of the law which expresses our faith in Jesus Christ.

Donations to Jinde Charities are still being accepted. Whether donating via cash or check, if you want your donation included in your year-end contribution statement, please use a donation envelope with your name. Please make checks payable to HNOJ and write “Jinde Charities” in the memo.

The season of Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020. The regularly scheduled Mass in Chinese and the imposition of ashes will begin at noon.

The Holy Name of Jesus Chinese School resumes classes today, February 16, 2020. The semester ends on May 3, 2020. Classes will be held in Classroom 1 from 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm.