It’s all about motivation: what motivates you to get out if bed each and every day?; what motivates you to want to do the right thing?; what motivates you to pray and go to Mass?”; what motivates you to get married or have children? St . Paul is teaching us in today’s reading that many of the God’s Chosen Ones are motivated simply by obeying the Law. Their motivation is submission to the rule of the Law, e.g., needing to abide by dietary restrictions. Following the letter if the law will not bring salvation.
Christ died for us and saved us from our sins out of love. The Law has a place, but it must not become an idol that pushes God away and to strengthen the perennial human need to be the cause of our own salvation. Following the Law won’t save us; only Christ saves. Faith in Christ’s love for us, faith in what he did for us on the Cross; faith in the power of God’s merciful love.... FAITH is what saves, not LAW!!
So, what motivates you? Sometimes we just need to follow a regimen, discipline and routine, if we are suffering or our lives feel as if they are coming unglued. Yes, in serious life situations, sometimes all we can do is just follow the laws rooted in deeply held convictions. Compassion oftentimes pushes us to just follow the Law, giving us an anchor or foothold. The beauty of the Law, indeed!!!
But that can’t become the norm: to be motivated by just following the Law so that one can get to heaven. Counting the masses and rosaries will do a great disservice to anyone who thinks that the more we do, the better chance we will have of making it through the gateway and into the Kingdom at our last breath. Only our faith and love will be the foundation of our salvation.
We are saved not by anything we do ourselves. We are saved only by Christ’s Sacrifice and Resurrection. When this deep mystery penetrates our hearts, we are motivated to feed the poor, not be selfish, pray to God, celebrate the Eucharist, pray the rosary and seeing everyone as a neighbor...especially the stranger.