“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish, but to fulfill.”
Not much has changed in 2000 years, has it? In today’s Gospel, Jesus attempts to calm his disciples by explaining that the laws of God are not being eliminated – he was sent by his Father to fulfill the promise of the Old Testament. Jesus has come to teach, guide and transform his followers of then and now how to live in the “spirit” of the law with the gift of grace.
Matthew’s Gospel was written to Jewish Christians. We know that Paul was of Jewish background; he showed respect and reverence for Judaism as Christianity’s “parent” religion. Some questions about Gentiles following Jewish laws, including maintaining a kosher kitchen (strictly separating meat from dairy products), were being raised within the community. After considerable effort, it was concluded (Acts 15) that Gentile followers of Jesus were not required to become Jewish to become Christian. Even then, believers were challenged with change.
For many, it is hard to let go of the rules and old traditions. In our Church today, when there is a change, whether to a custom, prayer, or ritual – it’s to make room for something that will fulfill and improve the purpose. Jesus brought one simple basic message to his disciples and us: to love God with all one’s heart and mind.
We are in the middle of the Eucharistic Revival throughout our nation to energize all Catholics to come together as One Body in Christ and celebrate around the Table of the Word and the Table of the Eucharist – it’s time for the revitalization of our faith.
Are you ready? Join us in Cleveland, August 4-6!
Thank you, God, for providing us with the foundation of your laws as our anchor so that we may live in the spirit of the law with grace, compassion, and charity for others. Amen.