Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Wednesday 3rd Week of Lent
March 26, 2014
Wednesday 3rd Week of Lent
Dt 4: 1, 5-9 / Ps 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20 / Mt 5: 17-19
Reading: Dt 4: 1, 5-9
And now, Israel, listen to the norms and laws which I teach that you may put them into practice. And you will live and enter and take possession of the land which Yahweh, the God of your fathers, gives you. See, as Yahweh, my God, ordered me, I am teaching you the norms and the laws that you may put them into practice in the land you are going to enter and have as your own. If you observe and practice them, other peoples will regard you as wise and intelligent. When they come to know of all these laws, they will say, "There is no people as wise and as intelligent as this great nation." For in truth, is there a nation as great as ours, whose gods are as near to it as Yahweh, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? And is there a nation as great as ours whose norms and laws are as just as this Law which I give you today? But be careful and be on your guard. Do not forget these things which your own eyes have seen nor let them depart from your heart as long as you live. But on the contrary, teach them to your children and to your children's children.
Gospel: Mt 5:17-19
Do not think that I have come to remove the Law and the Prophets. I have not come to remove but to fulfill them. I tell you this: as long as heaven and earth last, not the smallest letter or stroke of the Law will change until all is fulfilled. So then, whoever breaks the least important of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be the least in the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys them and teaches others to do the same will be great in the kingdom of heaven.
Sometimes we consider the Law as something that imposes on us, that limits us. Thus the Law becomes something constricting and undesirable. But Moses tells us in today's first reading that if we observe the Law that God had enjoined us to follow, we are to have life and take possession of the land. Then the Law does not put a heavy burden on our shoulders. On the contrary, it frees us, for it teaches us how to have life. And what is this land that we are to possess? This land is the kingdom of God; and we are in the kingdom if we possess Christ.
Even before Christ came as man, the Law had the purpose of carrying out the divine plan for humanity. And then Christ came - to complete the Law, bringing it to perfection. It is basically still the same Law but brought to a higher realm. We will understand this with greater clarity when we read the rest of this chapter of Matthew, which is part of the Sermon on the Mount. For instance, Jesus gives us the same Law of love but introduces to us the love for the enemy. Aside from this, he imparts to us the Law with the accompanying grace to fulfill it. Therefore, let us not be afraid if Christ gives us the Law, which, seemingly, is impossible to fulfill for he grants us his Spirit. And if we possess his Spirit, the law can be accomplished in our lives.
We Christians are blessed to be given the new Law by Christ. As Ps 147 says, "He reveals his word to Jacob, his statutes and rulings to Israel." He did not reveal them to others but to us, the new Israel, his chosen ones. When we discover the sweetness of the Law and consider it a delight, then we will understand why we are blessed to possess it. Many times, however, it still seems like a burden to us, something too demanding considering our weakness.
Let us not be disheartened whenever we fail to keep the law, for as St. Paul says in the letter to the Romans, "However great the number of sins committed, grace was even greater." We can count on Christ's infinite mercy which is accompanied by his grace. That is why, for Christ, the Law is not one of moralizing but of giving freedom.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary
... for families who are in need of healing
... for world peace and reconciliation
... for personal intentions
* Alyce Gail Arejola and co-examinees (for clarity of mind, enlightenment and wisdom in the preparations for and taking of subspecialty exams on March 27-28)
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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