Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent
O God, who founded all the commands of Your sacred law upon love of You and of our neighbor, grant that we may, by keeping your precepts, merit to attain eternal life.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9; Matthew 5:17-19
(Click for today’s Readings.)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”
Today’s readings including Psalm 147 are all about the law. The parallelism between Moses presenting God’s statutes and decrees on Mount Sinai and Jesus presenting the beatitudes in His Sermon of the Mount is striking.
It is clear Jesus does not abolish the laws of the Old Testament. He challenges both His disciples then—especially Simon the Zealot who believed the Messiah was to overthrow Rome by force—as well as us disciples today to follow God’s statutes and decrees. The Book of Leviticus tells us, and Jesus reminds us, these can be reduced to two: loving the Lord and loving our neighbor.
And how does Jesus come to fulfill the law? Jesus fulfilled the covenant that God made with the people of Israel at the time of the Passover (Exodus 6:6-7) and the subsequent statutes and decrees mentioned in the First Reading.
If we follow Jesus’ commandments, we too can “take possession of the land.” The Israelites had to wander in the desert forty years before they were purified and ready to enter the Promised Land. During this Lent, let us be purified and ready to celebrate the joy of Easter. That land is heaven.
- How long has it been since I took the time to read the Bible and meditate on its meaning?
- What can I do today to transform my anger into love, my resentment into peacemaking?
Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner.