The Law is a gift from God, but it should lead us to our encounter with Christ.
In his ongoing catechesis series on Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, Pope Francis on August 11 considered the Apostle’s teaching on the Law.
The Mosaic Law, he explained, was a gift that God gave to his people. (Cf Galatians 3: 19, 21-22.)
In making the Covenant with Israel, God offered them the Torah, the Law, so they could understand his will and live in justice. We have to think that at that time, a Law like this was necessary, it was a tremendous gift that God gave his people. Why? Because at that time paganism was everywhere, idolatry was everywhere, and human behaviour was a result of idolatry.
However, the Pope explained, St. Paul is emphasizing that the Covenant preceded the Law. “… the Covenant established by God with Abraham was based on faith in the fulfillment of the promise and not on the observance of the Law that did not yet exist. Abraham began his journey centuries before the Law.”
Paul doesn’t oppose the Law, but understands its rightful place.
“The Law is a journey, a journey that leads toward an encounter,” Francis said. It is a type of teacher, “the teacher that leads you by the hand toward the encounter [with Jesus.]”
But, the Pope warned, we shouldn’t “set aside the encounter with Jesus” and “go back to giving greater importance to the commandments.”