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BEYOND THE LAW

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.

Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence and keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity.

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that comes with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

May this moment and all other coming moments open new doors for you and may God bless you with wisdom and courage to walk in faith, as you continue your journey of life!

Now from the depth of your heart begin to wish your mind well……….

The Book of Deuteronomy tells us that the law was God’s gift to the desert wanderers through Moses (Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8). The law taught the Israelites how to live with one another in God’s presence. Their faithful observance of the law would lead them to life because the law was reverenced as God’s will. To ignore the law and its wisdom was to choose death. The law of Yahweh was unlike all other laws legislated for good order and the governance of a society – it was the will of Yahweh.

We are reminded of the importance of the moral code, standards and principles to guide our life and laws to govern our life. We are taught again that the laws which govern our life are God-given. If we observe them carefully and with devotion, we will live and have life to its fullness.

We must observe the law because we are convinced of its value and are dedicated to its purpose and not to avoid punishments. The author of Deuteronomy challenges us to go beyond the fear of punishment or the hope of reward to a willingness to belong to God and to follow God’s ways, God’s laws.

We are challenged to aspire to a very high standard of living, to purify our intentions, to observe God’s law as an act of faith and trust in God and God’s plan.

Psalm 15 speaks of the person who walks in sincerity, integrity, wholeness, holiness, perfection…..about the person who walks blamelessly in the face of God! The Psalmist asks: “Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill?”

The Psalmist answers, “He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman, who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts, who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. He who does these things will never be shaken” (Psalm 15 )

The word “blameless” in Psalm 15 has the same root word as “complete” and “whole”. It describes a person of integrity. Jesus calls this “purity of heart” and “single mindedness” as he proclaimed the beatitudes. Blamelessness is an inner disposition, an attitude and a quality of our heart.

Take a few moments…prayerfully reflect on the call to be “blameless”. Reflect on what you can do to cultivate blamelessness and make a few personal choices that will enable you to cultivate this quality during the coming week.

Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure of heart: they shall see God” (Mt. 5:8). The Greek word for pure is catharsis
which had a variety of meanings. It could be used to mean “clean” as in clean clothes or as in winnowed or sifted corn. It could be used to mean “clean” as in an army being cleansed /purged of inefficient, discontented soldiers. It could be used to mean unmixed, unadulterated, unalloyed – pure.

This beatitude is about “Purity” – the quality of being “single”, being “one”, being “unmixed”, being “undivided”, being “integrated”, Being “whole” – a thing being what it is made/created to be.

It is a very challenging thing – sometimes, even a shaming thing – to examine our motivations. There are few things in the world that even the best of us do with complete, unmixed motivations. Motivations of payment, recognition, praise, support, self-display, prestige, power, honor, self-respect, superiority, show of piety, hidden agenda, etc. often get into our life and activities – even into religious/spiritual activities.

Jesus said: the pure of heart will see God. We see only what we are able to see. The ordinary person looks at the sky at night and see only the stars – sees what he is able to see. The astronomer looks at the same sky and sees the stars and calls them by name.

The navigator will look at the same sky and can find the means to bring his ship across the trackless seas to the desired haven. One person sees dirt in the ground – another sees mushrooms growing. One sees all kinds of weeds to be uprooted – another sees herbs of great value. One walks into an antique shop and finds junk – another finds treasurers of great value. One walks into a garage sale and finds things of value for a small price, but another finds junk to be disposed of.

The pure of heart will see goodness, truth, love, virtue, value – will grow into a vision of God, Himself.

Purity of heart moves us from judging others to seeing the best in people; from despair to hope; from feelings, thoughts and words that destroy to those that are encouraging; from anger to patience, jealousies to appreciation, resentment to gratitude; from being negative to being positive; from hostility to peacemaking; from bitterness to forgiveness; from disrespect to reverence for sacredness of life; from self-concern to compassion for others.

Take time and reflect on walking in integrity, wholeness, holiness, perfection… walking blamelessly in the face of God!

Psalm 32 reflects on the bliss, pure joy that comes from confession and forgiveness.

Being forgiven is pure joy, bliss. God forgives! This means that He takes away all our transgressions – rebellious actions against His Steadfast Love and “covers over” our sinful deeds (32:1), so much so neither we nor God sees them any longer. God cleanses and purifies the heart with forgiveness. This is pure joy, bliss!

Our Psalmist speaks of transgressions- rebellion against Gods’ covenant love; Sin AS missing the mark, goal; Iniquity as crookedness of character; and Deceit as perversion of the spirit. God forgives them, But how good it is to confess them; what joy, bliss lies in confessing all violations of covenant love. God forgives, “covers over” all transgressions and sins. But the effect of guilt and shame lingers. Confession, a self-emptying process, a catharsis brings healing and freedom from the burden of guilt and shame.

Our Psalmist calls all God’s people to pray for the removal of guilt and shame. It is pure joy to have your community pray for your forgiveness and healing and protection from evil. Then the Psalmist says, “Let me teach you the way”. The way means, the way back, the way by which life can be renewed and the way is accepting the steadfast love of God!

These are extracted from the Law of Moses. True faith does not mean just keeping the commandments. True faith bears fruit – changes the person – touches every aspect of his/her life. A person of such faithand of integrity, can “never be moved” (last line of the psalm). The law of the Lord is “written in his heart” (Jeremiah 31:33).

James tells us that we have been birthed in truth and all good living is the result of this birth. Our moral conduct is an outgrowth of being rooted and grounded in God’s word. He reminds us today that it is not enough to listen to God’s Word. We must act on it, live it faithfully in love and compassion (James 1:17-18, 21-22, 27).


Jesus and his disciples were criticized because they had failed to complete the ritual washing before eating. Jesus told them that it was insufficient to cling to mere human traditions while ignoring or sidestepping God’s law (Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23). Jesus called them to a conversion of heart and mind and attitudes and not for clean hands and clean words on the lips.

Jesus teaches us today that inner purity, the holiness which the law is supposed to create, cannot be achieved by mere external observances. It is inner conversion, change of attitudes and dispositions in response to God’s call for conversion that brings about purity of heart, a thorough cleansing of life.

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that come with this moment and make it your prayer time and nothing else…be single minded at this time, in this moment…..you want nothing else but be in His presence…this is a sacred moment!

Loving God, Give us,

A Pure Heart, that we may see You,

A Humble Heart, that we may hear You,

A Heart of Love, that we may serve You,

A Heart of Faith, that we may abide in You.    (Dag Hammarskjold)

Take a few moments and pray Psalm 119:1-16 and pray the whole psalm when you have time.

Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk by the law of the LORD.

Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with all their heart.

They do no wrong; they walk in his ways.

You have given them the command to observe your precepts with care.

 

May my ways be firm in the observance of your statutes!

Then I will not be ashamed to ponder all your commandments.

I will praise you with sincere heart as I study your righteous judgments.

I will observe your statutes; do not leave me all alone.

 

How can the young keep his way without fault? By observing your words.

With all my heart I seek you; do not let me stray from your commandments.

In my heart I treasure your promise, that I may not sin against you.

 

Blessed are you, O LORD; teach me your statutes.

With my lips I recite all the judgments you have spoken.

I find joy in the way of your testimonies more than in all riches.

I will ponder your precepts and consider your paths.

In your statutes I take delight; I will never forget your word.

Share the following prayer of the Psalmist (Psalm 19:14-15)

Cleanse me from my hidden faults……

Restrain me from wanton (undisciplined, self-indulgent, hard to control, presumptuous) sins and let them not rule over me………..

May I be blameless and innocent……

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart find favor before you, O Lord…

How blessed is the person whose mind/heart is single/unmixed/undivided/pure – that person will see God.

Fr. Gus Tharappel,msfs