Beyond The Law

In today’s beautiful readings we see Jesus rebuking the Pharisees for following the letter of the law solely for the sake of the law instead of understanding the more profound point, relationship.

“Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:
This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me;
in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”

Now at first, this passage looks pretty condemning, but let’s look a little deeper. Jesus is rebuking the hypocritical attitude, but he is doing so because He knows our destiny is so much more significant.

We were not meant to just be human slaves obeying laws and precepts without any real purpose or goal. In the beingning with Adam and Eve, there was no need for such a focus on laws. They understood at a deep level that a human person has innate dignity and is made in the image and likeness of God. They understood and lived this relationship with God and each other perfectly.

And then the fall happened. We started to lose the capacity to look at others with love, mercy, kindness, and charity. We started to act against our very human nature and commit grievances against our own people. It is for this reason that laws were put in place, to protect the common good.

Laws are essential in a fallen world, but Christ in today’s Gospel is calling us to go beyond the law. Instead of doing actions just for that actions sake, digging deep and remembering where we come from and what we are meant for, eternal happines with God in heaven.

We are meant to look at Adam and Eve’s experience and learn from them and start to allow that experience to become ours. Not one enslaved by sin and evil where laws have to guide us, but freedom where we are guided by unconditional love.

This is what Jesus reminds us of today. That He has created us with a purpose that is beyond our understanding and a destiny that is literally out of this world. The only way we are going to get there is by finding the real person behind the commandents and by allowing His love to penetrate into our lives in such a real way that the commandments are no longer a burden but they just make sense because we know that every human person has dignity and worth.

Let us ask for the grace of God because we need it in order to begin to live by the original standards of charity that God gave us from the beginning. Amen.

Tommy Shultz is a Solutions Evangelist for Diocesan. In that role, he is committed to coaching parishes and dioceses on authentic and effective Catholic communication. Tommy has a heart and a flair for inspiring people to live their faith every day. He has worked in various youth ministry, adult ministry, and diocesan roles. He has been a featured speaker at retreats and events across the country. His mission and drive have been especially inspired by St. John Paul II’s teachings. Tommy is blessed to be able to learn from the numerous parishes he visits and pass that experience on in his presentations. Contact him at