March 6 2024: Bible Verse of the Day – Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent, Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A, Wednesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time – I have Come Not to Abolish But to Fulfil the Law – Matthew 5:17-19
Jesus said to his disciples:
17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill the law.
18 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. – Matthew 5:17-19
Catholic Readings for Today
Today’s Bible Verse of the Day Reflections
In this passage, Jesus declares that He has come not to abolish the Law and the Prophets but to fulfill them.
This statement underscores the continuity between the Old Testament (Law and Prophets) and the New Testament (Jesus). Jesus, as the fulfillment of the divine plan, embodies the essence and purpose of the Law.
The Law served as a guide for God’s people, providing them with moral and ethical principles to live by. Jesus, in His teachings and actions, doesn’t negate the importance of the Law but reveals its true depth and meaning. He is the embodiment of righteousness, and through Him, the true spirit of the Law is unveiled.
As followers of Christ, we are called to a higher standard of righteousness. The righteousness Jesus speaks of surpasses mere adherence to external regulations; it delves into the intentions of the heart.
Our actions should not merely be a result of legalistic observance but a reflection of a transformed and renewed heart.
Jesus warns against breaking even the least of the commandments and teaching others to do the same. This emphasis on the smallest details signifies the importance of integrity in our walk with God. It’s a call to genuine obedience, not just outward conformity.
During the time of Jesus, most of the disciples who had begun to follow Jesus thought that He was the ruler who would come and abolish the punitive Laws of Moses and bring about a new world order.
Others thought that Jesus would come to negate most of the things that had been prophesied before. But alas! Jesus clarifies with His statement, ‘I have Come Not to Abolish But to Fulfil the Law‘, that He was not on an earthly mission but on a Godly and Heavenly mission.
This was a revelation that the God-sent prophets who had prophesied about Jesus were actually right, and all that they had proclaimed would come to pass.
Now, Jesus simplifies all these commandments and prophecies into two commandments namely;
1. You shall Love the Lord Your God with all Your Heart, Soul, and Mind and
2. You shall Love your Neighbour as Yourself.
After these commandments have been condensed into two, we can now confidently understand what Jesus means.
That if you break these commandments or teach others to disobey them too then you will not see the Kingdom of God. But if you obey, follow, and teach these commandments to others, you will see the Kingdom of God and more so be regarded very highly.
Let’s heed Jesus’ call to be obedient to the first and foremost the two greatest commandments and also the teachings of Christ so that we can have a high place reserved for us in Heaven.
An Example to Illustrate the Principles discussed in Matthew 5:17-19
Consider the Old Testament commandment “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). The Pharisees and scribes of Jesus’ time would have focused on the external act of killing and avoiding the literal interpretation of this commandment. They might have prided themselves on not physically taking someone’s life.
Now, Jesus, in Matthew 5, goes beyond the external act and delves into the heart of the matter. He emphasizes that not only should one avoid committing murder, but also one should not harbor anger or resentment towards others.
Jesus says, “But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment” (Matthew 5:22a).
Here’s the exemplification of ‘I have Come Not to Abolish But to Fulfil the Law’
Old Interpretation (Pharisees and Scribes): External Adherence: They avoid physically murdering someone, thinking they have kept the commandment.
New Interpretation (Jesus’ Teaching): Internal Transformation: Jesus emphasizes that harboring anger is akin to violating the commandment. True righteousness involves addressing the root cause of murder, which is often anger and hatred.
Application: Consider a person named John. According to the Old Interpretation, John may not physically harm others, and he might think he’s keeping the commandment.
However, according to Jesus’ teaching, if John harbors anger or resentment in his heart, he is falling short of the deeper righteousness that Christ calls for.
To exemplify the transformative nature of Jesus’ teaching:
Old Interpretation (Shallow Righteousness): John refrains from physically harming others, but he might hold grudges and harbor resentment in his heart.
New Interpretation (Deeper Righteousness): John not only refrains from physical harm but also actively seeks reconciliation and forgiveness. He addresses the root cause of anger, promoting love and peace.
This example highlights the shift from a superficial adherence to the law to a transformative righteousness that involves the heart and mind. It illustrates the profound impact of Jesus’ teachings on how we interpret and live out God’s commands.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, give us the passion to obey Your commandments and teach them to others. Help us to continually become the salt and the Light of the World so that our actions and deeds may become good examples that glorify the Name of our Lord. Jesus, I love you. Amen.
A Story About the Importance of Obedience to the Law of Love
Once upon a time, there was a young boy named David who lived in a small village with his family. David was raised to follow God’s commandments and to live a righteous life. He was taught that obedience to God’s laws was crucial to having a blessed and peaceful life.
One day, David’s village was attacked by a group of robbers. The robbers stole all of the village’s crops and livestock, leaving the villagers with nothing to eat. David’s family was left in a dire situation, and they struggled to survive.
However, David remembered the teachings of his parents and continued to pray to God for guidance. He knew that stealing or seeking revenge was not the answer. Instead, he trusted that God would provide for his family and lead them out of their troubles.
Days passed, and to everyone’s surprise, a group of travelers passed through the village. They were carrying bags of food and were on their way to a nearby town to sell their goods.
David saw this as a blessing from God and approached the travelers, asking if they could spare some food for his family.
The travelers were kind-hearted and offered to give David’s family some food. They also noticed that David was a kind and honest boy and offered to take him with them to the nearby town to learn about trading and commerce.
David agreed and traveled with the group of traders. He learned a lot about business and eventually became successful.
Throughout his journey, he continued to live a righteous life and followed God’s commandments, which helped him gain the respect and trust of those around him.
David also made sure to teach others about the importance of living a righteous life and being obedient to God’s commandments.
He became a role model for many young people in his village and inspired them to follow in his footsteps.
In the end, David’s obedience to God’s commandments, his dedication to living a righteous life, and his desire to teach others to do the same brought him blessings beyond his imagination.
Bible Verse of the Day in Pictures
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