Wednesday - Lent Time
1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
your prophets remind us
in season and out of season
of our responsibilities toward you
and toward the world of people.
When they disturb and upset us,
let it be a holy disturbance
that makes us restless, eager to do your will
and to bring justice and love around us.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 5, 17-19
'Do not imagine that I have come
to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete
them. In truth I tell you, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not
one little stroke, is to disappear from the Law until all its purpose is
Therefore, anyone who infringes
even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same
will be considered the least in the kingdom of Heaven; but the person who keeps
them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of Heaven.
Today’s Gospel (Mt 5, 17-19) teaches how to observe the law of God in such a
way that its practice indicates in what its complete fulfilment consists (Mt 5,
17-19). Matthew writes in order to help the communities of the converted Jews
to overcome the criticism of the brothers of their own race who accused them
saying: You are unfaithful to the Law of Moses”. Jesus himself had been accused
of infidelity to the Law of God. Matthew has the clarifying response of Jesus
concerning his accusers. Thus, he gives some light to help the communities solve
Using images of daily life, with simple and direct words, Jesus had said that
the mission of the community, its reason for being, is that of being salt and
light! He had given some advice regarding each one of the two images. Then follow
two or three brief verses of today’s Gospel.
Matthew 5, 17-18: Not one dot, nor one stroke is to disappear from the Law. There
were several different tendencies in the communities of the first Christians. Some
thought that it was not necessary to observe the laws of the Old Testament,
because we are saved by faith in Jesus and not by the observance of the Law (Rm
3, 21-26). Others accepted Jesus, the Messiah, but they did not accept the
liberty of spirit with which some of the communities lived the presence of
Jesus. They thought that being Jews they had to continue to observe the laws of
the Old Testament (Acts 15, 1.5). But there were Christians who lived so fully
in the freedom of the Spirit, who no longer looked at the life of Jesus of
Nazareth, nor to the Old Testament and they even went so far as to say:
”Anathema Jesus!” (1 Co 12, 3). Observing these tensions, Matthew tries to find
some balance between both extremes. The community should be a space, where the
balance can be attained and lived. The answer given by Jesus to those who
criticized him continued to be actual for the communities: “I have not come to
abolish the law, but to complete it!” The communities could not be against the
Law, nor could they close up themselves in the observance of the law. Like
Jesus, they should advance, and show, in practice, which was the objective
which the law wanted to attain in the life of persons, that is, in the perfect
practice of love.
Matthew 5, 17-18: Not one dot or stroke will disappear from the Law. It
is for those who wanted to get rid of all the law that Matthew recalls the
other parable of Jesus: “Anyone who infringes even one of the least of these
commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in
the Kingdom of Heaven; but the person who keeps them and teaches them will be
considered great in the Kingdom of Heaven”. The great concern in Matthew’s
Gospel is to show that the Old Testament, Jesus of Nazareth and the life in the
Spirit cannot be separated. The three of them form part of the same and unique
project of God and communicate to us the certainty of faith: The God of Abraham
and of Sarah is present in the midst of the community by faith in Jesus of
Nazareth who sends us his Spirit.
4) Personal questions
How do I see and live the law of God: as a growing horizon of light or as an
imposition which limits my freedom?
What can we do today for our brothers and sisters who consider all this type of
discussion as obsolete and not actual? What can we learn from them?
5) Concluding Prayer
Praise Yahweh, Jerusalem,
Zion, praise your God.
For he gives strength to the bars
of your gates,
he blesses your children within
you. (Ps 145,12-13)