After finishing the Sermon on the Mount describing a new life in His kingdom, Jesus teaches us in today’s Gospel that He is not here to remove the old “Law.” Rather, Jesus is the fulfillment of it. Most of us would agree that the “Law” was the ten commandments, or even all the requirements included in the five books of the Torah, or Pentateuch. But the Law also refers to the entire way of life that God gave to the people of Israel.
Jesus made it clear that the essence of God's law - his commandments and way of life, must be fulfilled. God commands us to love him more than anything else and to follow in the way of his Son, the Lord Jesus who taught us how to love by laying down our lives for one another. Put simply, God is love. Jesus is Love in both human and divine form.
If we are to love in all that we do, then the commandments teach us to have reverence and respect for all things, beginning with God himself. We have reverence or respect for parents, respect for life, for property, for another person's good name, respect for oneself and for one's neighbor. Jesus showed us by His life that the commandments show us how to love.
In our humility, we understand that unlike Jesus, we are not God. Our love and fulfillment (i.e., obedience to) of the commandments doesn’t come naturally. We are more like our first parents, Adam and Eve, subject to earthly desires and temptations from the Evil One. But if we turn to God with our hearts and minds, all things are possible. If we desire to receive the divine love of God, the love that exists between Jesus and the Father, it is possible. Jesus promised to send us the Holy Spirit. Indeed, we receive the Holy Spirit at our Baptism. We are strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit when we choose to be disciples of Christ through the Sacrament of Confirmation.
The Spirit teaches us God's truth and gives us wisdom and understanding of God's ways. The Spirit helps us in our weakness, strengthens us in temptation, and transforms us, day by day, into the likeness of Christ himself.
We have been given the grace and power to become more like Christ each day. We can call upon and surrender our hearts to the Holy Spirit, who gives us the power to love as Christ loved. Jesus loved us so much that He sacrificed His life for us, for you and for me. Let us offer Jesus our love and gratitude by loving and sacrificing for others.
Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection
How will you respond to Jesus’ offer to be called the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?