Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time

In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus says, ““Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.  I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”

Jesus comes to fulfill all of God’s promises.  Specifically, with the law, he comes to fulfill that law.  He does not come to annul it or to replace it.  He comes to point toward its proper orientation and to fulfill it.

The Ten Commandments, as we call them, were given to Moses on Mount Sinai on the stone tablets.  To provide a fence around the Commandments to protect them, God had Moses give the people many other rules or laws.  There were 613 in total.

However, in following these laws, many of the Jewish people generally turned in on themselves and became scrupulous in their adherence to these laws.  They saw them as an end of themselves rather than as an aid provided by God to lead them to God.  And they failed to share God’s message to the rest of the world.

Their laws mostly prescribe external actions to be done.  They say little about the internal state of the heart that drives our actions.

Jesus uses the Beatitudes and the New Law as part of a call to repentance and to conversion of heart.  His focus is on the interior attitudes that drive our action.  This New Law is a law of grace that includes the Holy Spirit entering our hearts to make it possible to live in the way to which we are called.

If we live a life of love of God and love of others that is sanctified by the Holy Spirit, then we also live the Ten Commandments.  If we live a life of abandonment to God’s will and oriented toward the good of others rather than selfish desires, then we avoid sin.  Sin is not just a violation of the Commandments, it is an indication, hopefully small, of a way in which we have not given everything to God.  It is also usually a sign that we choose something of this world for ourselves over the good of others.  Sin is a decision to choose against God and neighbor.

As we hear more from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, notice how Jesus is calling us to an interior conversion of the heart.  Notice how he goes beneath the exterior surface of an old law to the interior state that leads to its fulfillment.