The Ultimate Rule Maker
We all have rules and laws that we live by in our communities, churches, workplaces, and homes. Rules and laws are necessary to maintain order and keep people safe. We all have personal rules we live by as well. Two of the many rules that I live by include: 1. Don’t settle for mediocrity. 2. Eat chocolate every day. Some rules are followed; some rules are bent, some rules are broken. In today’s Gospel reading, the disciples break the rules and the Pharisees call them out on it. Jesus responds by saying, “I am the Lord of the Sabbath.” (Lk 6:5) In other words, He is the Ultimate Rule Maker. Thankfully for me, a novice Scripture reader, He made the rules simple and concise. 1. Love God. 2. Love One Another. ( Matt 22: 37-38)
I was very much a rule follower when I was growing up. I always did my homework and stayed out of trouble both at home and at school. As I have aged and become wiser and more mature, Ifind myself questioning rules and laws in both our country and in our church. The Jesus I know would challenge some of these rules. As a Catholic female, I am particularly interested in the rules and laws having to do with equality and discrimination. I read a lot, I sign petitions online, and I support both prayerfully and financially those persons or institutions that fight inequality and discrimination. I find solace and peace in the fact that God has brought people in and out of our history to keep His message alive. There are countless women such as Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, Mother Theresa, and more recently, Edie Windsor who have worked tirelessly to give ALL people the dignity and respect they deserve. They did their work not to get their names in the history books, but to live the Gospel. They did what our Ultimate Rule Maker taught. They saw an injustice and tackled it head on and as a result, our society has been transformed.
The rules that Jesus, our Ultimate Rule Maker, commanded us to follow – Love God and Love One Another – are very simple to understand and at times very easy to follow. I see His love in my husband’s eyes. I see His love in my children and grandson. I see His love in my friends. I see His love in my small faith group. I see His love when I walk in the park every day. Where I struggle the most (and I’m sure I am not alone in this struggle) is seeing Him and trying to love those who do not have the same values and beliefs that I have. When I see women and children hurt by violence, when I hear of another senseless shooting, when I hear politicians use the term “anchor baby”, when I hear people being labeled “intrinsically disordered”, my heart aches. But it is in those times that I make myself stop and take several breaths to get my blood pressure down and say “God help them.” I have found that when I say this prayer for them, my anger slowly goes away and is replaced by compassion.
May we all find peace by following the rules of our Ultimate Rule Maker.
Kathy Norris is a member of the St. Agnes Parish Pastoral Council in Louisville, Kentucky.