Today, our Gospel talks about Jesus informing his listeners that he did not come to abolish the law or the prophets but to fulfill them. Notice that there was no specific mention of the Ten Commandments or the Sabbath Day. For if we have the Ten Commandments or the Sabbath Day already in mind, we might be limiting what Jesus had in mind. The truth is, the phrase “the law and the prophets” was actually a common expression among the Jews during the time of Jesus to mean the entire Old Testament. Taking this into account, his concern then was not specifically the Sabbath or the Ten Commandments but the Old Testament in its entirety.
When Jesus also said that he is to fulfill it, he meant to bring the meaning of the Scriptures to their intended completion. So, what do his words mean for us today?
First is striving toward God’s standards despite our shortcomings. The Psalms beautifully describe the feeling of one who contemplates the law of God: “Lord, I love your commands more than gold, more than pure gold, and because I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path” (Psalms 119:127-128).
Was there a time in our life when we also said something like this?
While it is true that all of us fall short of the glory of God because of our sins (Romans 3:23), it is also true that when we work with God’s grace, he can work in us to fulfill his good purpose (Philippians 2:13). Do we strive to love as Jesus loves? Do we make an effort to forgive as he forgives? Do we desire to think as he thinks?
The second is sharing the sacredness of God’s teachings. Our Christian faith is not only a private matter. Yes, we should pray on our own, but our prayer life should not remain a solitary experience. This is because our Catholic faith has a social dimension; we live out our faith in the public domain.
Pope Francis, in his encyclical Fratelli Tutti (par. 12), affirms that as society becomes globalized, he also laments that “it makes us neighbors, but does not make us brothers [and sisters].” He reminds us that we should not forget our Christian identity. It must be the ultimate foundation for building fraternity and defending justice in society (par. 271).
Lastly, we remember that whatever little we may have done, it is always a contribution to the building up of God’s kingdom which shall never go unnoticed in his eyes. We give our best and ask God to do the rest.