“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul; the decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the command of the Lord is clear.” -Psalm 19
HOW many of us appreciate God’s laws? How many of us thank God for his wisdom and direction? I hope that we can all say that we do. Otherwise, we’d all be groping in the dark, confused with what path to take. Or we’ll just be following our whims, making idols of ourselves.
This Sunday’s Psalm reading conveys this sentiment. Indeed, the law of the Lord refreshes the soul!
In her article in Living City, Let your life be a masterpiece, Letizia Magri expresses the same sentiment. Reflecting on a related psalm (Psalm 25:4), “Make me know your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths,” she writes:
“We often walk along the roads of our presumed self-sufficiency, but then we find ourselves disoriented, confused, faced with our limitations and shortcomings. We would like to find a compass in life and the correct path to reach our goal.
The psalm helps us greatly; it urges us toward a new personal encounter with God and trust in his friendship. It gives us the courage to embrace his teachings, which constantly invite us to avoid remaining closed in on ourselves and follow him on the way of love.”
In the light of keeping God’s law, we can understand Jesus’ anger and violent reaction in this Sunday’s Gospel passage on the purification of the temple. Jesus was furious at people’s disregard for the sacredness of the Feast of Passover and the Temple. They were making the Temple into a marketplace, an emporium, by selling oxen, sheep, and pigeons and exchanging money for profit. For Jesus, the Temple is not merely a building where people gather, degenerated into a marketplace; it is “the house of the Father.”
This Gospel story urges the need for us not only to follow God’s law but also to respect the sacredness of things, people, and days and events. It admonishes us to make room for God and neighbor.
Love for God and neighbor. It is the spirit of the law. All our projects, preoccupations, plans, and activities must reflect this spirit and take it as the central principle.
In a world that often disregards God and his commandments, may we be more conscious of our mission to bring the Person of Jesus into the marketplace. May we also become the temple of God, reflecting his radiant love. In this way, people would find the right path to a meaningful life and Eternal Life!
* * *
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.
* * *
Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.