Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Year of Living Biblically

Dear Theophilus,

We’re currently studying Judaism in my World Religions class, a subject of interest because Christ was a Jew and the Jewish faith laid the foundations for our Christian traditions. When the subject of Kosher Law came up, teenagers who feel somewhat constrained by Catholic moral teachings that go against societal expectations were surprised to learn that there are 613 laws proscribed in the Old Testament, and numbering over 700 if we count those of the New Testament.

Whenever the subject of Kosher Law comes up, I’m reminded of a book I read a couple of years ago: The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs. The book is an account of Jacobs’ attempt to follow Biblical Law to the letter for an entire year. Watch his interview on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos for a good synopsis of the book and the rather surprising conclusion this self-proclaimed agnostic made at the end of his experiment.

What I found most interesting while reading Jacobs’ journey is that all of the Old and New Testament laws point to the two basic laws that Christ left us:

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Lk. 10:27)

Whether it’s keeping the Sabbath holy to remember to set aside time for prayer and worship of the Lord, or not trimming the corners of your hair and beard as a reminder to set aside a portion of your abundance for the less fortunate; Kosher Law points towards Christ’s Law.

What we need to remember the next time we want to complain about Church law, not only is it based on scripture, it is also intended to bring us closer to God’s love.

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