Today’s readings may be a bit confusing, as it seems they have contradictory messages. In the first reading from 2 Corinthians 3, St. Paul says, “for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life” and he refers to “the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone…” Is he saying that the commandments brought death and thus should be done away with?
In the Gospel reading from Matthew 5, Jesus says, “Do not think I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish, but to fulfill. Whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.” It sounds like Paul is saying do away with the law, but Jesus is saying just the opposite. How do we take this?
Many folks would love to see the commandments abolished. Truth be told, many now just ignore the commandments altogether as if they were abolished. (Think abortion - the fifth commandment, or pornography - the sixth and ninth commandments, people no longer going to Mass - the third commandment, and on and on.) Jesus is saying that we are children of the New Covenant. We look to Him to find the very personification of the law and the commandments. We are to live our lives in Christ. When we do this, we will automatically keep and live out the commandments. Thus, the old law is still in place because it has been subsumed into the new law of love and life in Christ!
Father, help us to live in Christ, that we may keep the commandments – by default! Amen.