St. Anthony of Padua, Priest and Doctor of the Church
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 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.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Embodiment of God’s law
Jesus wasn’t trying to start a new religion. Matthew is making it clear to his Jewish audience that the law and the prophets weren’t going away; Jesus was just interpreting them anew. Perhaps he was just trying to get us to listen to the law in our hearts!
As Christians we don’t adhere to the Mosaic law, but we’re still an audience of this Gospel text—albeit a contemporary one. And Jesus was clear when he said the entirety of the law boiled down to love of God and love of neighbor. After all, the law taught the Jews how to relate to God and to one another. That is something we can understand as 21st century Christians. For us Jesus becomes an embodiment of God’s law, exemplifying the love of God and neighbor. And as people for whom Christ is their name, we are called to embody this, too. Every day.
We love you O, our God;
And we desire to love you more and more.
Grant to us that we may love you as much as we desire, and as much as we ought.
O Dearest Friend, who has so loved and saved us,
The thought of whom is so sweet and always growing sweeter,
Come with Christ and dwell in our hearts;
Then you will keep a watch over our lips, our steps, our deeds,
And we shall not need to be anxious either for our souls or our bodies.
Give us love, sweetest of all gifts, which knows no enemy.
Give us in our hearts pure love born of your love to us
That we may love others as you love us.
O most loving Father of Jesus Christ, from whom flows all love,
Let our hearts frozen in sin, cold to you and cold to others, be warmed by this divine fire.
So help and bless us in your Son.