REFLECTION FOR TODAY
June 9, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
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.” Matt. 5:17-18
Sometimes in life, it may be easy for us to miss out on God’s blessings mainly because of our misunderstanding and misconception of what God requires of us. Take the law of Moses for instance, we may think these laws are too demanding and no one can ever fulfil them. But the law was meant to be a source of delight.
In our gospel reference today, Jesus made it clear that He came not to abolish the law, or to continue teaching the law from a new perspective. No, He came as the fulfilment of every hope, command and dream expressed in the law. His teaching of the Old Testament was totally new not because He gave it a new twist, but because He alone could carry out the law perfectly, giving full obedience to them with his whole life.
Jesus is here saying essentially that He came to “fulfill” all the Old and Prophet. this means that Christians are no longer bound by these Old Testament legal and liturgical laws, in that we are now called to a much higher fulfillment of them all. As for the moral laws, especially those found in the Ten Commandments, not a single precept taught is abolished. Instead, these Commandments are deepened, and the call to moral perfection is now much clearer. It is for this reason that Jesus goes on to say, “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.”
It’s important to understand that those who lived before the time of Christ were not held to the same standard as we are today. This is because they did not enjoy the gift of grace that was won by the Cross and is bestowed by the Holy Spirit. Today, as Christians, we have so much more and, for that reason, are called to a much greater life of holiness.
This is our higher calling, as we are calls us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. We are also to lay down our lives for others and take up our crosses daily to follow Jesus. We are call by this to the perfection of sacrificial love, and that is only possible by our sharing in the very life, death, and resurrection of Christ our Lord.
Reflect, today, upon the very high calling you have been given by our Lord. It’s not enough to simply do the bare minimum in our worship and moral life. Doing so may permit you to be “least in the Kingdom of heaven,” but God wants you to share in His greatness. He calls you to be among the “greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.” Do you understand your high calling? Do you have the perfection of holiness as your goal? Commit yourself to the full participation in the New Law of Christ and you will be eternally grateful that you did.
Glorious Lord, You came to bring our lives to the fullness of grace and holiness. You call us to the heights of Heaven. Help me to see my high calling, dear Lord, and to work diligently to embrace all that You now command by Your New Law of grace and mercy. Jesus, I trust in You.