Daily Reflection – Mar 2, 2016
Wednesday 2 March 2016
First Reading: Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
Praise the Lord, Jerusalem
Psalm 147:12-13, 15-16, 19-20
Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:17-19
Today’s Note: Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent
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.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
Hear the statutes and decrees . . . that you may live. (Deuteronomy 4:1)
In ancient times, God’s Law set the Israelites apart. In his graciousness, he had given his chosen people a glimpse into his mind and heart. He showed them how to live together in the harmony and justice that reflected his glory. The Law made them unique among the ancient peoples—their God was so close that he shared his very thoughts and desires with them!
Today, as we consider God’s Law, we can see what a gift it is. Not only does God tell us to love him and love our neighbor, but he also tells us how to do it. What’s more, he gave us Jesus, who came to fulfill the Law! Jesus showed that it really is possible to live a life pleasing to God, a life that combines faithfulness to the commandments with a radical openness to the Holy Spirit.
Thank God for the Spirit—and for his gifts of grace and mercy! Without these, we would never be able to live the way God asks us to. And while we’re at it, let’s thank God for Jesus, who shows us that fulfilling the Law is not just a matter of keeping the rules. It’s also about learning how to open ourselves to the Spirit so that we can grow closer to the Lord and receive his grace. It’s giving the Spirit a chance to change our hearts and minds, even as we try to change our actions.
At its best, fulfilling the Law is all about being changed on the inside. We look to the Spirit to help us put off our own preferences and tendencies in order to begin to think and love as God does. What a relief to know that when we feel weak and unable to obey, the Holy Spirit is with us to help us! And what a relief to know that when we fall, our Father is right there to pick us up and help us start afresh!
So don’t let the thought of fulfilling God’s laws overwhelm you. Just take it one step at a time. And make sure that you are taking each step with the Holy Spirit!
“Thank you, Father, for your laws. Thank you for revealing your thoughts and desires through your commandments. And thank you for giving me your grace to transform me and make me more faithful.”