By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Catholic News Service

If laws don't lead people to Jesus, they are obsolete, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- God's laws are meant to lead all people to Christ and his glory, and if they do not, then they are obsolete, Pope Francis said in a morning homily. In fact, the scholars of the law in Jesus' day were so wrapped up in doctrine as an end in itself, they were unable to see that Jesus was leading people down a new and surprising path toward his glory, the pope said Oct. 13 during his morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he lives. Jesus did "strange things," like "walk with sinners, eat with tax collectors" -- things the scholars of the law "did not like; doctrine was in danger, that doctrine of the law" that they and the "theologians had created over the centuries," he said, according to Vatican Radio. The scholars were safeguarding the law "out of love, to be faithful to God," the pope said, but "they were closed up right there," and forgot all the ways God has acted in history. "They forgot that God is the God of the law, but is also the God of surprises," he said. "God is always new; he never denies himself, he never says that what he had said is wrong, but he always surprises us," the pope said. The scholars of the law had forgotten how many times God surprised his people, like when he freed them from slavery in Egypt, he said. They were too wrapped up in their perfect system of laws -- "a masterpiece" where everyone knew exactly what he or she was supposed to do; "it was all settled. And they felt very secure there," he said.