The Law and the Prophets: Reflection on Today’s Mass

Today’s Gospel reading from Matthew 5:17-19:

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17 “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them.
18 For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.
19 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


Some may recall that I ended yesterday’s post concerning our obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and certain Holy Days with these same verses from Matthew 5. Take my word that I had no idea they would be read in Mass today. So needless to say I was a bit surprised when I found out.

Well, at Mass, the priest confirmed much of my point about Jesus fulfilling the law and not abolishing it. He states that maintaining these laws is for our benefit, quoting Moses in Deuteronomy 4:1, “And now, O Israel, give heed to the statutes and the ordinances which I teach you, and do them; that you may live…” He compared the first reading with the Gospel and tied back to the message on the first day of Lent in which we are reminded that we have a choice to make – life or death.

This resonated with me because the Church speaks for Christ on earth today. Through guidance and instruction we learn of and adhere to the Law which was given to man so that we “may live.” Obedience is not opposed to free will. On the contrary, obedience to the Church and the Law is the fulfillment of free will as we submit ourselves to the will of God by our own choice. He created us and know us better that we know ourselves. God’s Laws can only bring us closer to Him and “lead[ing] us not into temptation.”

The Our Father
Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

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