God gave his people commandments as a gift. The Ten Commandments are given to us to help us live a good life (cf. “God’s Commandments”). However, that does not mean they are easy to follow. Good, God-loving people struggle at times to keep the Commandments. The Law can seem like a burden at times.
Thus, when Paul says in today’s first reading (10/14/20 – Wednesday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2), “If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law,” it might have felt to the people like a burden had been lifted. They no longer had to follow the law. Or did they?
Paul continues by listing “works of the flesh“, including immorality, impurity, and acts of selfishness. Those who commit such “works of the flesh” are not living in the Spirit.
Today some people seem to want to separate morality from life in Christ. At the very least, they want to change what is considered immoral. On the more extreme side, they seem to want to live an “amoral” life, a life that says the acts we do are neither good or bad.
While Paul says, “If you are guided by the Spirit, you are not under the law,” he never says we can live immoral lives. In fact, after he lists the “works of the flesh,” he says, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God.“
Is not the Kingdom of God precisely what we seek?
If we follow the Holy Spirit, then we enjoy the fruits of the Spirit that are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Is not love, joy, and peace what we ultimately seek? They come patience, kindness, and generosity.
The law of the Lord is good. The Holy Spirit guides us to fulfill the Law that we may know the Kingdom of God.