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Teaching about the law

Gospel Reading: Mt 5:17-19
Jesus said to his disciples: 17“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18Amen, 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. 19Therefore, 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.”

I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.

Many people are threatened when their convictions or beliefs are questioned, instead of honestly and bravely confronting the challenges.

When Jesus is perceived as not “literally” following the Law (like the observance of the Sabbath), the scribes and the Pharisees accuse him of wanting to get rid of it. But Jesus declares plainly that he has come not to abolish but to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. In other words, he is inviting these religious teachers to see beyond the surface value or meaning of the commandments. Statements of laws and commandments by their very nature cannot say everything. One has to go deeper and understand the whole truth and the genuine spirit behind them.

Indeed, we may sometimes be following laws and commandments but not fulfilling their genuine intent and spirit. As Jesus shows, one cannot leave a sick person or animal to die on a Sabbath just because a commandment forbids work on this day. Whereas the Sabbath was instituted to promote rest and life and God’s glorification, its intent is very well fulfilled when someone saves life on this holy day.

Do you treat or use laws and commandments in the right spirit?

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2017,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.