Reading biblical texts can cause us a certain perplexity when we face the attempt to understand the concept “Law”.
On the one hand, we know the Decalogue, known as the Ten Commandments, although it is actually more accurate to speak of the Ten Words of Salvation. On the other hand, however, we find it very cumbersome to read the laws contained in Leviticus and Numbers.
And, in addition, you have to count on what Jesus is going to say about the Law ( “I have not come to repeal it” ) and what Paul is going to say ( “you are no longer subject to it “). But … where do we agree? Law yes or no?
Perhaps, as on other occasions when confusion seems to reign, the point is that we are not talking about the same thing. Perhaps it is that the Law is not the same as the law (or laws).
At Sinai Moses and the People of Israel receive the Law, with a capital letter, a plan of happiness and salvation for human beings that has no small print. It is the Law. That law that, of course, Jesus has not come to repeal because it is the Law of God.
Later, from this Law proposed by God, the Israelites will develop endless laws, with a small letter. There will be laws for everything. We can say that in this legislative development the Israelites got out of hand. For example, the most Orthodox Jews still today cannot push the elevator button on Saturday.
That endless boring of laws, of norms, of what today we would call regulations and that ended up becoming overwhelming and distressing, that set of laws and norms that the Pharisees used as a stone against “sinners” , is the law that Paul quotes when saying that we should not continue to live under it.
So I think we are dealing with two different planes, no matter how much they have some common intersection aspect. It seems that the Law of God, which always remains, is not the same as the laws (norms or regulations), which must inevitably be subject to modifications.
To the People of Israel God sent the prophets to correct that those laws had moved away from Mercy. It is not surprising, because if that regulation of Leviticus and its implementation had been what God wanted, the prophets would not have been necessary.
Also today we need to correct something of the direction of our pastoral, of our small print, perhaps sometimes something far from Mercy, and for this God sends us our shepherds, he sends us Pope Francis.
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