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Not to abolish but to fulfill



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, associationnot 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.”

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The two pillars of Jewish spirituality are the law and the prophets. The law refers to the Ten Commandments given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai. The prophets are the books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets. The Jews strictly adhere to the law and the prophets and consider both as the perfect expression of God’s self-disclosure to Israel.

Jesus’ claim as the fulfillment of the law brings confusion among the Jews and drives the religious leaders into panic. They are offended at the thought that the law and the prophets can be incomplete, therefore imperfect, and they misconstrue Jesus’ teachings and actions as a plot to negate the law and the prophets and an attempt to supplant these with Jesus’ teachings.

Jesus emphasizes that he does not come to abolish the law, but neither does he simply reinforce or confirm the law. Jesus points to himself as its fulfillment and declares that he will achieve in his incarnation what the law and the prophets could never attain.

Jesus, in freely interpreting the law, guides us to examine our attitudes and intentions.

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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.