“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.” Mt.5: 17-19
In today’s first reading, Moses teaches the Israelites God’s Law so they could understand that they are made in God’s image, and prepare them for the coming of Christ. The Law prohibits what’s contrary to God’s love and shows what is essential to have God’s light shine on them.
In the Gospel, Jesus reveals the “New Law,” or the “Law of the Gospel.” It is the work of Christ Himself, well summarized in the Sermon of the Mount. The New Law fulfills and perfects the “Old Law,” giving hope to the poor, the humble, the afflicted, and the pure of heart, showing them the way to the “Kingdom of Heaven.”
For many, the words “law” and “obedience” spark an initial, almost teenage rebellious reaction. Fortunately, as we grow older, we realize the need of a law to help us live in harmony and have internal peace. As we internalize God’s law, we see it more as a gift of Love, a gift of God Himself that is impossible to fully comprehend, but the only Love capable of filling our hearts and souls.
At Catholic Charities, in our daily work with the poor, we experience both the suffering and the happiness of those we serve. As leaders, we are asked each day to encourage them by showing Christ’s love. Because it is only Christ who can reform our hearts, the root of all human acts, where we choose between good and evil, and where hope, faith, charity, and all virtues are formed.
In short, following God’s law is the only way we can touch a bit of heaven on earth. We need not be afraid of proclaiming the Gospel. God’s law is Love in action, and we are made for Love.
Roberto Partarrieu is Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of LaCrosse.