Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent

There is a common view of the law which sees it as something imposed from without to restrict freedom.  People don’t always make good use of their freedom and when it could hurt or endanger others, it makes sense to have laws with consequences.  When we read the Psalms, we can be a bit mystified when we hear how glad the law makes the psalmist, “Lord, how I love your law… The law from your mouth means more to me than silver or gold… The law of the Lord is perfect, it revives the soul…”  The common view of the law sees it as a necessary evil, and obedience to that law as a painful necessity.

We could adopt a different view of the law however, one that would help us rejoice in it instead.  The Law of God is the breath He blows into the nostrils of Adam at his creation.  It communicates the life of the spirit to our humanity.  Living in accord with that breath, that law, was our perfect happiness.  Disobedience broke the flow of our breath and the breath of God, between our spirit and the spirit of God.  Adam created a new law by his disobedience, the law of the flesh – which leads to death.  Jesus brings the new law of his Spirit breathing through His human flesh so that by grace our hearts may again beat in accord with God’s law: His breath of life.


“In Deuteronomy God says to Moses, “Assemble the people for me; I will have them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me.” He mentions the name of the church again when he says of the tablets: “And on them were inscribed all the words that the Lord spoke to you on the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly”; as if he would say more plainly, “on the day on which you were called and gathered together.” And the psalmist says, “I will give you thanks in a great church [ecclesia], in the mighty throng I will praise you.””1

“He fulfilled the law at any rate when he completed by the sacrament of his passion the once prefigured mystery of the paschal meal. Consequently the apostle says, “For Christ our paschal lamb has been sacrificed.””2

“But the “one dot” is not only the iota of the Greeks but also that which among the Hebrews is called the yod. And the “one iota” or “one dot” can symbolically be said to be Jesus, since the beginning of his name is written not only by Greeks with an iota but also by Hebrews with a yod. So Jesus will be the one dot, the Word of God in the law which does not pass from the law until all is accomplished.”3

“The fulfilment of the Law is love, which the Lord hath given in sending His Holy Spirit. The Law is fulfilled either when the things there commanded are done, or when the things there prophesied come to pass.”4


  1. Cyril of Jerusalem, CATECHETICAL LECTURE 18.24. Lienhard, J. T., & Rombs, R. J. (Eds.). (2001). Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy (p. 173). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
  2. Chromatius, Tractate on Matthew 20.1.1–2.
  3. Origen, Fragment 99.
  4. Augustine, from The Golden Chain: Mt. 5:17-19
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