We’ve been hearing that phrase a great deal lately here in Canada. Since early this month, protesters have been staging blockades at critical points of our national railway system. These actions have been crippling our economy. The serious situation has elicited a variety of commentary, among which is the frequently repeated call for the rule of law to be respected. Regardless of one’s opinion on this particular issue, everyone can see plainly what happens when the rule of law is ignored. Chaos ensues. Actually, we don’t need this particular series of protests to teach us that. One can simply imagine what the state of a city would be were its traffic laws to be ignored. The straight line from lawlessness to bedlam is easy to trace.
It is ironic, then, that we seem unable (or unwilling?) to “connect the dots” when it comes to the link between societal or personal disarray and disregard of the law of God.
The passages from Sacred Scripture proclaimed at mass on Sunday direct our attention to the divine law. From the Book of Sirach we have this: “If you choose, you can keep the commandments, and they will save you.” God’s law is a gift of His love, given to protect and guide us. It is granted to teach us how to live a rightly ordered life that leads to peace. The Psalmist puts it beautifully: “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.” (Psalm 1: 1-3) Accepting the rule of God’s law leads to peace and fullness of life. It follows that turning away from this law will have the opposite effect.