Memorial of Saint Ambrose
December 7, 2022
Daily Reading from the USCCB: Matthew 11:28-30
In this passage, Jesus speaks to people who he knows and sees are overburdened with religious obligations that are not based on their relationships with God. Rather those obligations are somewhat self-centered; all about proving that they are worthy of God’s love and making God indebted to them. This is what the Pharisees themselves did, and how they looked upon God. It was like they were telling God: “We are good and obey every detail of the law. Therefore you owe us the reward of your love and respect.” It sounds preposterous, but it was true.
If they could only realize that God’s command was as simple as “loving God and loving one another,” then they would have found that this burden was far lighter and easier–even if it was not perfect. Love always surpasses “law observance.” The reason is that Jesus’ command is about our relationship with and for each other. The law is always about “how good WE are.” That’s why Jesus was accused of being a “law breaker” in the eyes of his enemies. That’s why Jesus was so comfortable being with “sinners” and eating at the same table with them. Jesus hated sin, but he was not afraid of sinners.