Wednesday, 3rd Week of Lent
“I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”
The law that Jesus is referring to in today’s gospel passage is the law that expresses the will of God for his people – whose only purpose is to guide, protect, and promote life, whose only aim is to ensure our happiness. Jesus came to fulfill, not the letter of the law, but the spirit of the law. The spirit of the law is none other than love of God and love of neighbor. So, the law of love is what Jesus came to fulfill.
There is a beautiful Latin quote that comes from St. Augustine – it says: “Ama Deum et fac quod vis.” (Love God and do what you want.) Well, it is just stating the obvious: If we truly love God, we will be pleased only by what we know pleases him.
Bishop Robert Barron explains St. Augustine’s statement this way: “Love God” here means “focus your life on God.” “Fix your soul on God… and then your life will be ordered in such a way that everything you will want is good.” “Everything you do will be in accord with God’s designs and purposes.” Indeed, if we truly love God, we will be pleased only by what we know pleases him.
If God is the center of our life, then our relationship with our neighbor will also radically change. We need to ask this question: Is our life focused on God, so much so that we do only what pleases God? Our concerns, our interests, our affairs, our projects, our efforts… how we spend our time and energy… where we go… what we say or post or like on Facebook and Twitter… whatever we do and how we do it… can we honestly say that this is in accord with God’s design and purpose?
If the center of our life is God and our loving relationship with God, then we do away with the ways of the world, and we follow only what is pleasing to God… for we are meant to worship ONLY GOD.
Jesus is also telling us that mere external conformity to God’s law is not enough for a true disciple of his. “The true Christian’s external behavior must be the result of a good heart.” (Nil Guillemette) It is a heart that desires to please God by doing his will. It is a heart that devotes itself in following Jesus faithfully. It is a heart that commits itself in upholding the common good. It is a heart that yearns to serve God’s people unreservedly. It is a heart that loves to love God and neighbor. This is how we fulfill the law of love.