This tells us that God’s work through the law and the prophets is not over, but has been brought to fulfillment in the life and teachings of Jesus.


In today’s passage which continues the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus solemnly assures His readers, “Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them.” Jesus has not come not to terminate the Law but to bring it to a higher level. The vision of Jesus helps us to see the Law in a new light. This tells us that God’s work through the law and the prophets is not over, but has been brought to fulfillment in the life and teachings of Jesus. So, Jesus says that the Law is still to be observed. He is not saying that every single injunction of the Law (some of which seem very strange to us) has to be literally observed but rather that the spirit behind those injunctions is still in force. His words are meant to console but they are also a challenge, as we shall see.

Jesus taught reverence for God’s law – reverence for God Himself, for the Lord’s Day, reverence or respect for parents, respect for life, for property, for another person’s good name, respect for oneself and for one’s neighbor lest wrong or hurtful desires master us. Reverence and respect for God’s commandments teach us the way of love – love of God and love of neighbor. What is impossible to men is possible to God and those who have faith in God. God gives us the grace to love as he loves, to forgive as he forgives, to think as he thinks, and to act as he acts. The Lord loves righteousness and hates wickedness. As his followers we must love his commandments and hate every form of sin.

When I read this passage, this last sentence really reminded me how I think God is calling us to live our lives: He wants us to go out and share His love and acceptance of all people. In the Bible, Jesus calls us to have no other gods besides God and to love one’s neighbor as one’s self. I think this is particularly important for us to remember when we are going throughout our daily lives, constantly being tempted by materialistic goods and gossiping or tearing others down. We need to remember what Jesus is calling us to live simple lives, not lives filled with so many material objects that we forget to stop and appreciate the things God has already blessed us with.

I also think that it is important that Jesus said that we do not just need to obey this, but we also need to teach it. We are all called to be disciples, and being disciples is not just worrying about how we are doing; it is also looking out for our brothers and sisters. We need to help them also achieve a life in Heaven, and we can do that by teaching them about how God wants us to love. Our actions do speak louder than our words, so we must always be striving to live out God’s commandments, so that we can be examples to others.

In our Church, too, we need to be ready to move forward creatively to new ways of understanding our faith and living it out. The traditions of the past are still valid but we must never get bogged down in them to the extent that we do not respond to the clear signs of the times.  Tradition can be understood in two ways: either as a fundamental belief that has existed from the very beginning or simply a way of doing or understanding things which has been around for a long time.

 

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