Burden of Laws

Luke 11: 42-46
Rom 2:1-11 / Ps 62

Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear.
(Luke 11:46)

What laws on earth could guarantee
Our passage to eternity?
Man-made laws have been man’s burden,
Roadblocks on his way to heaven.

The Lord addressed the Jews who had come to him, “Woe to you Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seats in the synagogues and salutations in the market places. Woe to you! for you are like graves which are not seen, and men walk over them without knowing it.” One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying this you reproach us also.” And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear, but you yourselves do not lift one finger to touch them.”

Reflection

In their meticulous observance of man-made laws (like tithing even on herbs), the Pharisees neglected the more important things in their ministry, like rendering just laws, and humbling themselves before God. Instead, they sought the adulation of men, thus their spiritual lives became as lifeless as forgotten graves. The lawyers, or scribes, likewise felt imputed by Christ’s condemnation, because they were the ones who crafted the laws that were almost impossible for the ordinary folks to observe.

Wasn’t it President Manuel Roxas who said, “Those who have less in life must have more in law”? But how pathetically ironic that like the people of Palestine in Jesus’ time, it is the ordinary people who are suffering under the yoke of laws crafted by our legislators, and interpreted by our lawyers in complicated legalese. Thousands of men and women who have less in life are either languishing in jails, or sinking deeper in debt as their cases seek resolution in the turtle pace of our justice system.

How like the Pharisees our congressmen and senators strut about in self-importance while their constituents wonder when needed reforms in the justice system, or in the prosecution of graft and corruption will finally be implemented. So with some of our judges and lawyers, who are not far from the scribes that our Lord also condemned. In today’s first reading, St. Paul reminds them: “Because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when His righteous judgment will be revealed. God will give to each person according to what he has done.” (Rom.2:5-6)

No other law must rule, only Your divine law of love. Grant, dear God that Your law may rule the hearts of our political leaders for prosperity to reign in our land. Amen.

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