March 6, 2024
Lenten Weekday
Letter and Spirit
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Matthew 5:17

It’s been said that if you want your friend to love baseball the way you do, describe your own joy of the game. Don’t start by detailing the infield fly rule. Likewise, when sharing the beauty of faith in Jesus, lead with love for the Person, not a complicated doctrine.

Religious practice in Jesus’ time had evolved into rules and rituals for their own sake, and many people had forgotten God’s love for them along the way. They no longer knew that the purpose of the Law was to reinforce their connection to God. So Jesus came to fulfill the Law, restoring the relationship and the identity we share as God’s people.

The Law then—and Church “rules” now—don’t make you a different person. Only Jesus can do that, making you a new creation by the power of the Holy Spirit. The life of discipleship, including its moral demands, comes from loving Jesus above all. As we obey the perfect law of love, we will find our fulfillment in Christ.

- Steve Pable

Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9 • Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20 • Matthew 5:17-19

Comments

March 6, 2024 at 03:19 PM

Thank you for a great reflection, Steve. Reminds me of many times that our Pope Francis has asked that we don’t get too rigid with the law and concentrate on loving all people as Jesus would do. It hurts my heart when I read the terrible comments that people make about him. He is accepting and compassionate, just like Our Lord Jesus.

Steve Pable
March 8, 2024 at 01:32 PM

Indeed - I've been so grateful for the witness and wisdom of the Holy Father. Each of our recent popes has brought their own unique gift and perspective to the life of discipleship!

Nora
March 6, 2024 at 10:32 PM

Amen!

March 6, 2024 at 11:24 AM

Amen. :)

March 6, 2024 at 10:05 AM

AMEN!

March 6, 2024 at 09:33 AM

Steve you hit a home run with your Baseball analogy. As a umpire my feeble mind went the the rules. But the joy of watching the players success in the field or at bat is what the game is all about. As in life, Joyful attitudes and kindness are the key for me. Ken

Steve Pable
March 8, 2024 at 01:34 PM

Thank you for serving as an umpire! I know how important it is for our young people to have dedicated people officiating... talk about an often thankless job! For what it's worth, I believe it was Bishop Barron who had offered that analogy years ago. Not sure if it originated with him, but he was right on base! Ha ha- seems we both appreciate a good "dad joke"!

March 6, 2024 at 09:17 AM

Steve thank you. Those words help to put things into perspective for me. They are not rules or regulations they are a way of life! If we live that way of life each and everyday hopefully others will follow. If only others could see that it's from the inside not the outside that those guidelines exist. LFF prayers for my new Journey......."happy dance" I'm going tomorrow to get my new dog! I have to drive to Oklahoma to do it but am very happy to do so. Prayers for a safe trip and that our relationship goes well at our first meeting and rest of our lives together. This is a big step for me thanks. Blessings to all the LFF and for all those needing extra help these days. May Gods love shine on you each and everyday.

Steve Pable
March 8, 2024 at 01:36 PM

Thank you, Stormy, and safe travels and prayers for a new adventure of companionship! Thank you to you and others for being faithful prayer warriors in the LF community!

jane
March 6, 2024 at 03:21 PM

OMG Stormy and Hot Dog! I am just so very excited for you and Journey and cannot wait to hear about the meeting! Blessings to you on the road. Amen.

Bill L.
March 6, 2024 at 02:48 PM

Stormy, since you started mentioning this weeks ago, I was always thinking of what to say. I came up with this; Enjoy your 'Journey' together! Bill

peggyR
March 6, 2024 at 10:47 AM

Great news, Miss Stormy!! Safe travels and best wishes for you and your “Journey.” Prayers for a beautiful life together! ❤️

Kjc
March 6, 2024 at 10:44 AM

Stormy quick prayer for you safe trip and success in meeting with your new dog and companion. Ken

Kathy J
March 6, 2024 at 09:37 AM

Stormy- I’m so happy for you! May you and your new friend have a blessed life together❤️

Living Faith team Respond to comment
March 6, 2024 at 09:00 AM

Hello readers, here's a note from the Living Faith team: Check out what's up at the blog we launched this Lent. You can find it here: https://www.livingfaith.com/blog/ or by just moving over to the front page and clicking on the blog category in the navigation bar. It includes some inspiration and some newsy posts, including a "comment of the week" from our readers here. Thank you for reading!

March 6, 2024 at 08:46 AM

It's so true, Steve. When we come to really love Jesus first, the desires of our heart, and with His grace, we will want to follow him and the rules. A beautiful and blessed weekend with continued prayers for all. Sandy

Steve Pable
March 8, 2024 at 01:37 PM

Well said, Sandy! Many blessings on your Lenten journey toward the new life of Easter!

March 6, 2024 at 08:40 AM

Thank you Steve for these words today that remind us that the love of Jesus and our loving him in return by sharing his love with others are what changes us and leads us to eternal life. When I was a young girl attending Catholic school my Protestant friends used to sing, “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.” I remember thinking, how come they know Jesus loves them and I don’t. I knew that I had to obey the Ten Commandments and follow all the rules if I wanted to go to heaven when I died. And I did that to the best of my ability at that young age. I studied hard and got high grades, I went to mass every day during May and October, the months dedicated to Mary. I always prayed very hard especially to the Holy Spirit. One day at mass after receiving the Holy Eucharist I had an overwhelming sense of Jesus telling me, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you”. It brought tears to my young eyes. It was only years later, in the early 70s, while attending a charismatic prayer meeting, that I truly came to experience the love of Jesus in my heart and in my life. And it has made all the difference in the world.

Steve Pable
March 8, 2024 at 01:40 PM

Thank you for your witness, Anne! So many people have gone through life - even as Catholics - without knowing that profound love of the Father, the closeness of Jesus, and the overflowing presence of the Holy Spirit. May we be open to all this and more that the Lord wants to do in and through us!

Donna
March 6, 2024 at 10:12 AM

Anne! You were born again! This is a term us Catholics do not care for because it's more of a Protestant phrase. However, the Bible does say that we need to be born again. This happens on the Holy Spirits timing not ours. I had this happen to me. Had no idea it was coming, but I was made new. I had new eyes to see. - I saw everything through the eyes of Christ. I suddenly loved in a way I never had before! I I wandered through life those first years full of joy and deep gratitude to Jesus. I found myself saying “Thank you Jesus” from deep within, over and over again. I do wish that us Catholics made more opportunities for people to commit to Jesus. I know we commit everyday, but publicly committing brought down the Holy Spirit in abundance. ????????✝️

Stormy
March 6, 2024 at 09:11 AM

Great story Anne thanks for sharing it. Brought memories back to me.

March 6, 2024 at 08:25 AM

Thsnk you so much Steve for this devotion. It is a great insight that the Jewish practices had lost the concept of a loving relationship with God and Jesus came to give us that amazing opportunity to have that relationship with the Father through Him. O Lord Jesus help me to stay deeply connected to You and grow closer to You and the Father and the Holy Spirit every day. I look forward to the day You call me home and pray for your help to be worthy of that calling. Amen.

Steve Pable
March 8, 2024 at 01:41 PM

Amen, Marko - come, Holy Spirit!

Kjc
March 6, 2024 at 09:27 AM

Marko welcome back we missed your comments and thoughts. I know you like Padre Pio here's today's. Padre Pio Oh Jesus, if I had an infinite number of hearts, all the hearts in the heaven and on earth, your mother's heart, I would offer them all every one of them to you my dear lord. Ken

March 6, 2024 at 07:51 AM

*** Paul explained that no one is made right by doing all the laws in Romans 3:19-20, "What the law says, it says to those who are ruled by the law. Its purpose is to shut every mouth and make the whole world accountable to God. So no one will be considered right with God by obeying the law. Instead, the law makes us more aware of our sin!" *** Why not? Because no one can obey all the laws all the time in Romans 3:23, "Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God’s glory!" That means not you, not I nor anyone ever lived...Only Jesus!!! *** That is why Jesus is the Good News in Romans 3:21-22, "But now God has shown us His saving power without the help of the law. But the Law and the Prophets tell us about this. We are made right with God by putting our faith in Jesus Christ. This happens to all who believe. It is no different for the Jews than for the Gentiles!" ******* So does it mean we don't have to follow the laws? No in Romans 6:1-4, 8, 11-14, "What should we say then? Should we keep on sinning so that God’s grace can increase? Not at all! As far as sin is concerned, we are dead. So how can we keep on sinning? All of us were baptized into Christ Jesus. Don’t you know that we were baptized into His death? By being baptized, we were buried with Christ into His death. Christ has been raised from the dead by the Father’s glory. And like Christ we also can live a new life...We died with Christ. So we believe that we will also live with Him...In the same way, consider yourselves to be dead as far as sin is concerned. Now you believe in Christ Jesus. So consider yourselves to be alive as far as God is concerned. So don’t let sin rule your body, which is going to die. Don’t obey its evil desires. Don’t give any part of yourself to serve sin. Don’t let any part of yourself be used to do evil. Instead, give yourselves to God. You have been brought from death to life. So give every part of yourself to God to do what is right. Sin will no longer control you like a master. That’s because the law does not rule you. God’s grace has set you free!" Amen!!!

Salina
March 6, 2024 at 08:00 AM

Reminds me of what I shared with the BSF students on the Basic Truth of the Christain Faith! *** Know WHAT you believe *** Know WHY you believe *** Know HOW to say What you believe and Why you believe!!! ******* Studying Scripture with this question in mind...What does this passage of Scripture reveal about God - His Person, His Purposes, and/or His Work? BECAUSE WHAT we believe about God determines what we believe about ourselves, our world, our purposes, our lives and HOW we behave!!!

March 6, 2024 at 07:20 AM

Thank you Steve for your reflection on the rules and rituals. It is so true that people forget they are to keep us connected to God. I think this is especially true for those on the outside looking in, seeing nothing but rules. You give helpful advice on speaking to people about our faith. God bless.

Steve Pable
March 8, 2024 at 01:43 PM

Thank you, Margaret, for your faithfulness and prayers. The Lord is always at work, and these precious moments of reflection help tune us in to all the remarkable things He is doing!

March 6, 2024 at 07:15 AM

Steve, loved this. How can I be the face of Jesus to others today so they can experience the beauty of the face? Sending all wishes for a great day!

Steve Pable
March 8, 2024 at 01:45 PM

Amen - lifting up those many needs, Jane, and may others see the face and love of Jesus in what we say and do.

March 6, 2024 at 07:07 AM

Lord please hear our prayers and bring your light to all those suffering from the fires in TX, in the Middle East, Ukraine, Russia, the Sudan, and all those suffering around the world - also for their strength, courage and resilience to continue walking in faith. Send them your light. Father in Heaven, have mercy on us and on the whole world! You sent Your Son, the Prince of Peace, for the salvation of the world. We pray that the Peace of Christ will reign in the Middle East, Ukraine, Russia and Sudan. Please protect and send aid to those in need and all who are at-risk. We pray for peace and rebuilding– we who are working towards it and for all those who are suffering or in danger from conflicts. We pray for an end to violence and war – we pray for wisdom for all leaders who have a hand in this. Lord God please help those in most need of thy mercy. Amen.

March 6, 2024 at 04:53 AM

Praying for Matthew - Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon him. Prayer's for all of his family.

March 6, 2024 at 03:26 AM

Pray for the repose of the soul of Matthew B who was our great nephew.He passed away on Sunday night. He was on a ventilator for 3 weeks. Prayers for the consolation of my husband’s side of the family who grieve him. Thank you peggyB who posted on Tuesday for your prayers ????❤️

Steve Pable
March 8, 2024 at 01:46 PM

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord... And may the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, bring peace to his parents and all who loved him.

Bill L.
March 6, 2024 at 02:37 PM

Praying for Matthew and your family tonight, Bonnie.

Kathy J
March 6, 2024 at 09:43 AM

May Matthew rest in peace in the arms of Jesus and may the family find comfort & peace.

Kjc
March 6, 2024 at 09:20 AM

Bonnie I am praying for you and Matthew and his family right now. Ken

Stormy
March 6, 2024 at 09:04 AM

Prayers for Matthew B and his family. May they feel Gods loving hands through the grieving process.

jane
March 6, 2024 at 07:11 AM

Bonnie, eternal rest grant unto Matthew oh Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he be at peace with God and rest in his healing presence. Amen.

Cheryl
March 6, 2024 at 06:44 AM

My condolences Bonnie...May Matthew's soul rest in peace..Amen

Joann
March 6, 2024 at 06:16 AM

Sorry for your loss. Prayers for the repose of the soul of Matthew and comfort for your family

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