October 19, 2011 - Memorial of Saint John de Brébeuf and Saint Isaac Jogues, priests and martyrs, and their companions, martyrs

Today's Readings

St. Paul declares to us today, “You are not under the law”, and if we are not under the law then we must be above the law. You and I are above the law, if we do not need the law to tell us not to kill people or commit adultery. The law says, “Do not steal” but we were not going to steal anything. The law tells us not to worship other gods besides the Lord, and we wonder why anyone would.

This is what means to be above the law. That usual meaning, someone ignoring the law and disobeying it, they are not above the law. They are not above anything at all. They wallow in sin. They are enslaved to sin. Sin tells them what to do each morning, and sin lets them know when they can go to bed at night. Is this a free existence? It is like the free existence of an alcoholic or drug addict.

Consider it this way: am I free to do heroin? Well, I am free to not do it. The law against heroin in the country has no effect on my life. Zero effect. I have not the slightest interest in taking that drug. I am above the law. Some Hollywood heroin addict, who manages each day to take the drug with impunity, never arrested because they are wealthy, are they above the law? No, they are not above anything. They are a slave to their addiction.

This ought to be our attitude toward every sin. If we looked at our lives as an opportunity to serve the Holy Spirit, an a long string of opportunities to know, love, and serve God, then what meaning does the law have? None. If a man loves his wife, he does not need a law telling him not to kill her. If a woman loves God, she does not need any law telling her not to worship an idol.

To be above the law means to be too good to obey the law. To be above the law means that we do not have the slightest inclination to disobey it. To be above the law means that our lives are not framed by decisions like whether to commit perjury. We Christians are above the law; we live guided by the Holy Spirit rather than sinful desire. We love God and our neighbor. We are free to be good. We Christians are above the law, or, at least, we should be.