Wednesday, March 2nd – Sr. Barbara Laperouse O.Carm.
Gospel: MT 5:17-19
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
Fulfillment in Love
This passage can easily be put aside as not inspirational if we focus on Law. However, it speaks of an essential contrast: the Old Law vs. Jesus’s purpose in life. When Jesus says that he has come not to abolish the Law but to fulfill it, he is saying that he has come to show us the meaning and end of law which is love. To fulfill means to complete, to bring to fullness. Jesus’ life showed us that love goes beyond order, security and progress that enables us to form community. Jesus’ life was a way of life rooted in love. This is his call to us. “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15)
Jesus taught by his life that love is the motive for obedience. It is the strength that we have to be faithful – to our family, our Church, our God. The Old Law is based on a series of covenants, between God and the Israelites. The truth of a covenant is that God is always faithful to His promises. We have to do our part. This is what the life of Christ is all about. Jesus formed the New Covenant, a covenant of love. It is only in and through Christ that we can and do our part. Jesus, the Christ, is faithful to us.
When we reflect on our lives, we realize that as children we need to be taught to be obedient. As we obey, we begin to learn that obedience helps us to get things done. We follow the rules of the game so that we can play together. We follow the rules of our family so we won’t be punished or we will be rewarded. With experience, we learn that we are obeying because there is something deeper: it is the right thing to do for myself and others so I do it. I love my family, I don’t want to hurt them. I study because I feel good about myself when I am doing my best in school. Love of others and self-respect become the motive for my obedience; obedience through concern for myself and others leads to love.
Christ, by his example of love for the poor, the sick, the sinner and children, showed us what love of others is all about. By his passion and death, Christ showed us that with love we must give until we have no more to give in life. This is what Jesus asks us to accept – to love. Love one another as I have loved you (John, 15). In this way of life, of love, we will be fulfilled.
We are fulfilled in life as we live as Christ lived. We do this through our daily lives: learning, doing and loving as Jesus did from the Presentation in the Temple to the Crucifixion. We do this through the potential given to us in Baptism and the nourishment of the Eucharist, and through the Holy Spirit. It is in living the Law of Christ that we are changed, always moving toward fulfillment in this life and in heaven.This is the inspiration in this reading – Christ loved us and teaches us to love him. He showed us how to live that we might be fulfilled through the love of God in this life and in eternity.
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