As the Synod of Bishops meeting to discuss the issues that confront families in today's world, the following thoughts are prompted by the homily of Pope Francis from his Mass. The Holy Father urged that we not be closed to the signs of the times. Likewise the Pope reminded his hearers not to forget that holy law is not an end in itself.
What is important is that all the faithful, not just the lawyers among us, should walk with the Lord not solely with our own preferential judgements. Speaking about the Jewish Doctors of the Law who were debating with Jesus about aspects of the Law and Jesus' preaching, the Pope said that these scholars of law were blind to the signs of the times. They had demanded that Jesus produce extraordinary signs for them to justify what he had been teaching.
We should inquire "Why did these scholars not accept Jesus' teachings?" These legal scholars had taken all the Jewish laws and standards and crafted them into a very clear and distinct set of laws that impacted every aspect of Jewish life. This legal system they had created was their feathered nest. Living a life tied up within rather severe and all encompassing laws made them feel safe. [This author's thought: What we see in our society today, especially among the political leaders who feel the law is theirs to handle, is a close reproduction of the mores of these lawyers of Jesus' times.]
This surety, however, the Pope said has made them blind and deaf to the God of surprises! This is the God who is always putting surprises before us. What these legals of Jesus time missed is the reality that all who come into the world are on a journey. What they seemed to forget or recognize is that when anyone is on a journey there must be an openness to what is encountered along the way of the journey: meeting what has been unknown.
These geniuses of the law again failed to realize that their locking the law in one interpretation did not lead to Jesus Christ. If the law does not lead to Jesus, the law is dead. So this contest between Jesus and the lawyers should make us ask ourselves if we are too strongly attached to "my things," "my way or the highway" thinking.
In essence what Jesus asks each of us every day on our journey is "am I open to the signs of the times and what message Jesus sends to us through these previously unknown signs?"
Let us continue to pray for all those participating in the Synod of Bishops and for ourselves that we nurture well a heart that loves the law, the law that belongs to God. Let us never reject the God of surprises and how this God our ours teach us in our times with HIS signs.
Oremus pro invicem!