7 March
Mt 5:17-19

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfil. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

“Not the smallest letter or stroke of the Law will change until all is fulfilled,” said Jesus.  But he himself often broke the Law  -  certainly as it was interpreted by his contemporaries. 

When is a law perfectly fulfilled?  When it is observed to the letter?  Hardly.  The scribes and Pharisees adhered to the letter of the Law, yet Jesus accused them of “setting aside the commands of God and clinging to human traditions” (Mk 7:8).  A law is being fulfilled, surely, when the purpose for which it was made is being fulfilled.  A law is a means to an end; but if the end is being subverted by the law, then it is no longer a law.  This is the revolutionary teaching of St Thomas Aquinas.  Law, he said, is an act of reason (ordering a means to an end), not an act of will.  Law is not the grip of someone’s power over you, but guidance for your mind.  It subverts neither your mind nor your will, but guides you along a path.  It does not take away your freedom, but supports, enlightens and defends it.  This is how there can be such a thing as the law of God.  There is no real opposition between law and love. 

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This page gives a very brief commentary by Donagh O’Shea on the gospel reading for each day of the month. 


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