…I have come not to abolish but to fulfill…
It seems that Jesus was forever being accused of breaking the law – healing on the Sabbath; why do you not wash your hands as the law proclaims?; how is it that you and your disciples pick the wheat on the Sabbath?… The law in those days stemmed from the Ten Commandments, the Pentateuch and the whole of Scripture. The Law was really more about principles than about rules and regulations. Principles to help guide life in community. Scribes and Pharisees made it their business to reduce the principles to rules and regulations that they could enforce them. In fulfilling the Law, Jesus was getting back to the principles of respect and reverence. Reverence for God and God’s day, respect for parents, neighbors, life and truth.
This reverence and respect is rooted in mercy and love. The mercy and love we experience from God, modeled in Jesus and called forth in every one of us to share in community.
Lent is an opportunity for us to reconnect with the principles of life – of love – and of mercy. It is a season inviting us to something deeper – we are called to live the Ten Commandments through the lens of the Beatitudes. To be deeply present to God and to one another, Lent is a time to allow God to lift us out of our old ruts, help us refocus and reframe our lenses so that we can be channels of healing, opportunity and possibility. So that we can accompany and companion those tempted to shrink from their crosses. So that we can walk with deeper reverence, respect and compassion. The fulfillment of the law that Jesus promised.
Faith Offman is the Associate Director of Ministry at St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center in Detroit, Michigan.