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.” (Matthew 5:17-19)
There is one operative word in today’s Gospel that holds the key to living the Christian life . . . the word is “fulfill.” Jesus was instructing his disciples that to grow in holiness, to follow him, to be like Him meant moving beyond the legality of the law and replacing them with a new moral law: “I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
A follower of Christ must learn to live a life grounded in mercy and love not in negative prohibitions but rather molding our lives, on the positive commandments of Jesus, the total love of God and neighbor which he showed forth in his life and death.
Those words sound good but practically how do we do that? How do we do that in today’s world? The “how” is simple in words. While we are in the world, we do not need to live like the world. There is a simple way to discern which path we are on. Do we follow God’s commandments because we have to? Or rather have we allowed God’s commandments to enter into our lives? If we really loved God, if we really focused our eyes on Christ then we would conform our lives to his. When we conform our lives to be like Him, then we would find it easy to not live the ways of the world.
It doesn’t happen in an instant or in one event. Rather it is a road on which we set our minds and our feet. The Christian life is a journey. There will be setbacks and obstacles. But it is His call to you and to me. Knowing and embracing that call helps is become more resolute.
Little by little we try to become the person our Lord wants us to be as we endeavor in our lives to come closer to the Lord. God wants us all to obey his commandments and lead others to follow him; he wants us to be called greatest in his Kingdom!
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, grant us this day, the ability to adjust our thoughts, words and deeds so that they are in accord with your Father’s law of love and may we be saved and protected through your mighty help.”
On the tomb of Michael Ramsey in Canterbury Cathedral is an inscription taken from one of the early fathers of te Church, St. Ireneaus: “The glory of God is a living man and the life of man is the vision of God.”