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.
The 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.
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 love.