By Fr. Roy Cimagala
“DO not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfil.” (Mt 5,17)
With these words of Christ, it should be clear to us that Christ, who is the “the truth, the way and the life for us,” the pattern of our humanity and savior of our damaged humanity, should be considered as the fulfillment of any law we have in our life.
That is why we should really know him so we would know how to handle our laws. More than knowing him, we should love him since that would make us one in spirit with him. Let’s remember that we are meant to be like Christ, “alter Christus,” another Christ, as some theologians have told us, if not “ipse Christus,” Christ himself. Only then can we have the proper understanding and attitude toward our laws.
We need to realize that it is Christ who ultimately gives the real meaning and purpose of our laws. We have to disabuse ourselves from the thought that our laws can be based only on our common sense, or on our own estimation of what is good and evil according to the values of practicality, convenience, etc., or on our traditions and culture, etc.
While these things have their legitimate role to play in our legal and judicial systems, we have to understand that they cannot be the primary and ultimate bases. It should be God, his laws and ways that should animate the way we make laws as well as the way we apply and live them. After all, being the Creator of all things, he is the one who establishes what is truly good and evil.
And the will, laws and ways of God are revealed to us in full by Christ. That is why at one point Christ said to the Pharisees and scribes regarding the proper interpretation of the Sabbath law that “the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So, the Son of Man (Christ) is Lord even of the Sabbath.” (Mk 2,27-28)
So it is Christ who can guide us as to the content and intent of our laws. He is the one who can interpret our laws properly. He is the one that would give our laws their proper spirit, which in the end is the spirit of charity that summarizes and perfects all virtues and values.
For this, we have to learn how to assume the very identity of Christ. This may need a certain discipline, like spending time meditating on the life and teachings of Christ, developing the art of being recollected and contemplative so that we would always be aware that our thoughts, desires, words and deeds should always be with Christ and not just by our own selves.
We have to convince ourselves that our ultimate identity is that of Christ. We may feel awkward and skeptical about that truth of our faith, but that is just who we really are. We just have to our part to slowly, gradually and continually assume that identity to such an extent that with St. Paul we can say, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal 2,20)