Wednesday, 10th Week in Ordinary Time
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”
The law that Jesus is referring to in this gospel passage is the law that expresses the will of God for his people – whose only purpose is to guide, protect, and promote life. For Jesus, what is important is 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. It is meant to teach human beings how to care and love one another as brothers and sisters.
Jesus is telling us that mere external conformity to God’s law is not enough for a true disciple of his. Our external behavior must flow from an inner conviction that God’s law is good in itself, that it deserves to be obeyed because its aim is to ensure our happiness. (Nil Guillemette) As Nil Guillemette puts it, “The true Christian’s external behavior must be the result of a good heart.”
Our striving to obey God’s commandments and to do good must flow from this kind of heart. We go to Mass every Sunday, not only because we are obliged, but because we really want to give thanks and praise to God. We pray, not only because we want to get something from God, but because we want to speak to him heart-to-heart. We serve in the parish, not only because we are somehow forced to, but because we want to share in the Church’s life and mission. We give our time, talent, and resources to our community, not to get something more in return (like an investment), but as our way of living the spirit of stewardship and of expressing our profound gratitude to God. We fast, abstain, and make sacrifices, not out of obligation, but out of wanting to share in the suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ. May our external behavior flow from a good heart.
Let us end with a prayer: Lord God, grant me a good heart… a heart that desires to please you by doing your will… a heart that devotes itself in following Jesus faithfully… a heart that commits itself in upholding the common good… a heart that yearns to serve and not to be served… a heart that cares for the poor, the deprived, and the oppressed… a heart that loves to love You and my neighbor. Amen.