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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."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, as
I journey through Lent I have a great desire to
be close to you. I know that I am your
creature and that I owe you all glory and homage.
I want to glorify you by following your teaching. I
need you to help me see clearly the truth of
your teaching and to love you in return. Here I
am Lord, hungry for you alone. I know that you
will not turn me away empty-handed.
Petition: Lord, teach me what it
means to fulfill the law.
1. The Spirit Fulfills the Mere Letter:
We can speak of fulfilling the law in two ways:
by doing everything that is asked or by completing that
which is missing. Jesus completes the law of the Old
Testament with the new law of love – to love
one another as he has loved us. Jesus fulfills the
law not by simply fulfilling each of the many precepts,
but by showing where all of the precepts have their
end: in loving God above all things. When we obey
the law of love we are fulfilling all of the
laws – we are bringing them to their natural end.
All-Encompassing New Law: The law of love reaches to the
ends of the earth. There is no created being in
the universe that is outside the law of love that
Jesus has come to teach us. There is no being,
not even the smallest, that escapes the demand of this
law. When Jesus uses the metaphor, “the smallest letter or
the smallest part of a letter,” he is showing us
the completeness of this law. Love and its demands reach
to the farthest ends of the universe, to the smallest
created being, and to the end of time. Am I
convinced in my heart and in my actions that the
law of love asks me to love all people –
not just my family, friends and those who rub me
the right way?
3. Seeking Perfection: The commandments of the old law
as exemplified in the Ten Commandments (e.g. Thou shall not
kill; Thou shall not commit adultery; etc.) are grave transgressions
but easy to define, referring as they do to external
actions. Christ’s commandments (e.g. to not show anger;
to not lust in the heart; to forgive our enemies;
etc.) have more subtle expressions, and because of this often
times they are more difficult to obey. Living these commandments
with the proper motivation and a considerate, dedicated attitude is
what makes a person great. Having love as the motivation
of all of our actions not only helps us make
it to heaven, but also will win us a greater
share in God’s happiness and glory there.
Conversation with Christ: Thank you,
Lord, for this time of prayer. Do not let me
be content simply to do the minimum that my faith
asks of me. Do not let me be content simply
with avoiding grave sin. Help me to live the fullness
of the law of charity. I want this Lent to
be a time of growth in love.
Resolution: When I
am obeying the laws of the Church I will stop
to reflect how they fit into the greater law of