Daily Reflection for Wednesday, March 18, 2020
Peace and blessing, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Wednesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First reading: Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
Responsorial: Psalm 147: 12-20
Gospel: Matthew 5: 17-19
Our reflection on Wednesday's reading:
“I've come not to abolish but to fulfill …” Matthew 5:17b
I began my training as a marriage and family therapist in Cincinnati, Ohio. I was mentored by a wise and witty fellow known for his clever sayings. One that has stayed with me through the years is, “We are truly free and mature individuals when we can do what we want to do… even if our parents want us to do it.”
I believe this concept has relevance not only in our maturing as people but also for our maturing in our relationship with God. When we spend our energy in rebellion, it may seem like independence but it is not really the freedom God wants for us. I believe this is what Jesus is getting at in today's Gospel. He has not come to lead anyone away from Godly living; rather, he wants us to understand more fully what living in God’s light is really about.
Matthew's Gospel is written primarily for a Jewish audience who would be concerned about the treasure of the law that had guarded and guided them for centuries. Yet we who read scripture today are aware of times when Jesus was criticized for breaking the law or allowing his disciples to do so. When challenged by the Pharisees, Jesus replied,”The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” (Mark 2:27)
Jesus not only challenged aspects of the law in ways that might appear as a looser interpretation, but He are also confronted the law in its limits. “You have heard it said, but I say unto you…” (Matt 5:17-48) With these words Jesus took on rules about the vengeance, anger, lust and divorce, expanding them to a higher level of loving, over rule following.
And so we come to see what Jesus may have meant when he spoke of fulfilling the law, making it more than a list of dos and don'ts. In Isaiah (59:21) God speaks of putting his law within our hearts. This is law guided by love and compassion, love of God and love of neighbor. This is the obedience and surrender by which our lives will find true fulfillment and union with our creator and His son who came that we might live in a new kind of obedience, one-based on divine guidance in scripture and on that love in our hearts as followers of Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, you love us without conditions. Help us to seek your loving will for our lives, to surrender our willfulness that we might find true freedom by living in your light. Amen