3rd Week of Lent
1st Reading: Dt 4:1, 5-9
Moses spoke to the people and said: “Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees as the Lord, my God, has commanded me, that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy. Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and say, ‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’ For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? Or what great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today? “However, take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children’s children.”
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.”
The law of love: Jesus, who was condemned and crucified for being a law breaker is here talking about his mission which is not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. The Jews interpreted religious observance into scrupulous observance of intricate rules and laws. Surely this is not the Law Jesus intends to fulfill. He opposes this kind of legalism. The law that Jesus states is reverence to God and respect for human beings. Scribes and Pharisees do not understand this law. This law of Jesus, does not consist in scrupulous obedience to numerous rules, regulations and prohibitions. It consists in love, mercy and obedience. Its love surpasses the limited demands of the law. It connects the New and the Old Testament, past and present. When we fail to fulfill this law, we feel unworthy, have a sense of sin and inadequacy. Love knows no limit. God’s love launches us into a mission of service of God and of neighbour.
PRAYER: Lord, help us to constantly meditate on your love for us so that we can fulfill your commandment of love for our brothers and sisters. Amen!
FULFILL GODS LAW: Tyranny of the laws, being tied down by the commandments is a general thinking for many. Adherence to God’s ordinances and precepts, is the sure way towards a positive relationship with him. However, Jesus challenges the legalistic interpretations put forward by the scribes. He desires that all have respect and regard for the human being. This is what he means when he says that, “not the smallest letter or smallest part of a letter will pass’. In this way Jesus exhorts that our righteousness must be better than that of the scribes and the Pharisees. This law is pegged on the principles of love of God and love of neighbour. Can we honestly claim that we have reciprocated God’s love? In a climate of darkness and death, in an atmosphere of hurt and harm, where desperation and pessimism reigns, only love can usher in a new dawn.