Monday, February 09, 2015

A radical call

The call to cruciform discipleship is, in fact, a call to covenant faithfulness, a summons to embody, simultaneously, the two tables of the Law. we see this clearly in the story of the encounter of Jesus with the man who wanted to know what he had to do to “inherit eternal life” (10:17–22, shortly before the third passion prediction). After Jesus replies with a recitation of the requirements of the second table of the Law and the man claims his compliance with them from his youth (10:19–20), Jesus informs him that he lacks one thing, and that to fulfill that one thing the man must sell his possessions, give the proceeds to the poor, and follow Jesus (10:21). The promise that the man would thereafter “have treasure in heaven” suggests that the thing he lacks, and will now gain, has something to do with his relationship with heaven, with God, and therefore with the first table of the Law. The fulfillment of that table takes place by following Jesus, as if Jesus functions in the role of God, the proper focus of life’s commitments and direction. At the same time, this radical love for God is not separated from love for others; in fact, the two are inextricably interconnected, as giving to the poor and having treasure in heaven are here two sides of the same coin of discipleship. In fact, we could say that following Jesus is the way to simultaneously fulfill—really fulfill—both tables of the Law: love of neighbor, especially the poor, and love of God.— The Death of the Messiah and the Birth of the New Covenant, page 34

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