Wednesday of the Thirty–first Week in Ordinary Time
(Romans 13:8-10; Luke 14:25-33)
The territory of Utah before statehood was rife with polygamy and slavery. There was no law to prohibit these practices. Gradually submitting to federal control, Utah banned both. Its experience exemplifies what St. Paul has shown in his Letter to the Romans. Without law everything is permissible. Once law is established, it condemns people for evil acts. But it does not make a people good. They need more than prohibitory statues. They need the Holy Spirit.
Today’s first reading speaks of divine love as the fulfillment of the law. Love is the work of the Holy Spirit moving adherents to practice virtue. They do no one any harm. More characteristically, divinely inspired love moves those affected to care for others. In the gospel Jesus gives the same testimony. He sees love of God and of neighbor as the basis of all righteousness.
Love takes effort. For this reason the Holy Spirit is involved. The Spirit prompts us with its gifts to do what is just and helpful. We ask the Spirit’s help to fulfill what is known its “law”; that is the law of love.