This week we celebrate Valentine’s Day. This is a day in which we reflect on our relationship with each other. Yet not only are we called to reflect and celebrate our relationship with each other, but we are also invited to consider our relationship with God. This week’s readings give us an opportunity to do just that. God gives us aids and tools to help us in our relationship with him. In our first reading from the book of Sirach we hear God say to us these words. “If you choose you can keep the commandments, they will save you; if you trust in God, you too shall live.” By trusting God, we believe that he will keep his promises to us.
What helps us to be able to live our trust and deepen our relationship with God is to keep his law. Jesus says in the gospel of Matthew. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish the law, but to fulfil it.” Jesus is the fulfillment of the law and of God’s promise to us to bring about our redemption.
We can show God that we accept these gifts he wants to offer to us by keeping his commandments. The Catholic Encyclopedia tells us about the commandments. “In addition to the 10 Commandments tradition has accepted commandments or precepts of the church as a help for believers to carry out their duties as members of the community.” By carrying out the commandments we are allowing God to give us the tools to guide us in our relationships and on our journey of faith. Not only does God give us commandments via the Old Testament, but the tradition of the church also gives us what we call precepts. In her current listing there are five precepts. The Catholic encyclopedia list them as follows. “First, to attend mass on Sundays and other holy days of obligation. (Canon 1247). Second, too fast and abstain on certain specified days (canons 1249 – 1253. The days currently specified are Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Third, to confess one’s grave sins at least once a year (Canon 989). Fourth, to receive communion at least once a year preferably during the Easter season (Canon 920). Finally, to contribute to the support of the church (Canon 222).
The encyclopedia list a sixth one. “To observe the church’s laws concerning marriage (canons 1055 – 1165).” God wants us to respect every relationship we have as he intends them. By following the precepts of the church and keeping the commandments as God has stated them then our relationship with God and with each other will grow in deeper love and respect. Every relationship should be carried out with the love of God in mine. Its primary goal should also be to help lead all peoples closer to Almighty God. May God bless our relationships and help us keep them rooted in his love. May God bless you all.