1Kngs 18:20-39 / Psa 16
Whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Those who prefer not to obey
God’s laws forfeit heaven’s treasure,
Those who submit will find the way;
Obedience is love’s true measure.
Jesus said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter, or the smallest part of a letter, will by any means disappear from the Law until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5: 17-19)
Jesus always emphasized the sacredness and validity of Scripture. “Not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law until all things have taken place.” (Mt.5:18) Obedience to God’s laws and love are the two recurring themes in His teachings, two vital keys that we need to enter the gates of heaven. His love has transformed us, but we still need God’s decrees and ordinances in Scripture to guide us in this life. Together with the power of, and inspiration from the Holy Spirit, we will strive to follow and learn God’s Word assiduously, and in the process, earn the gifts of the Spirit in order that we can also teach His Good News to others.
The love that our Lord Jesus teaches is our most important way to spiritual growth. It transforms our mediocrity into a passionate desire to keep God’s commandments. Love inspires humility and obedience to the law, and makes it easy to submit ourselves to authority, and be receptive to its teachings. Love makes submission to our elders in the community sweet and natural. We know the difference between obedience dictated by fear and obedience dictated by love. We submit to our leaders not because we fear them, but because we love them. Obedience is also necessary because we experience our spiritual growth in the truths of the Gospel, and we credit this to the teachers in our community. St. Peter wrote, “Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love, love one another intensely with a pure heart.” (1Pet.1:22)
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments… He who has received My commandments, and keep them, is the one who loves me…If a man loves me, he will keep my words…He who loves me not keeps not my commandments.” (Jn.14:15-24) The laws of God are absolute, and will never change. Honoring one’s parents, the sanctity of life, sacredness of sex and marriage, the worship of One God, respecting the property of others, honesty in one’s dealings—these are all, like God Himself, timeless and unchanging. And if we disregard or violate them, then there will be a price to pay. Let the commandments of God, especially His law of love be our major preoccupation, let them guide us in our mission, in our joy and pain, and in our life.
Those who fear the Lord disobey not His words; those who love Him keep His ways. (Sir. 2:15) Let me never forget Your laws in my life, dear God, as long as I live. For they are the light that keeps me from stumbling, the discipline that I need in order to grow strong in my faith, and persevere in times of trials and suffering. Amen.
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