Gospel MT 5:17-19
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.
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.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
It may seem puzzling that Jesus is so emphatic about obedience to the law.
Clearly, there are many instances in scripture where Jesus mercifully healed people on the Sabbath, and was himself charged with breaking the law.
Today’s gospel is both a blessing and a challenge for me.
A blessing because the commandants give me a clear path to follow.
A challenge because in truth, I have both obeyed and broken commandments, and through the power of my example, I have led others to do the same.
I have to believe that in today’s gospel, Jesus is talking about the thousands of petty laws and regulations that the Scribes and Pharisees imposed upon the people.
They applied laws so strenuously that they left no room for failure. By doing so they crushed the rule of love and left no room for mercy.
Peter resorted to violence in cutting off the ear of a man in defense of Jesus. Then after Jesus was arrested, Peter denied him three times.
It could be reasonably argued that Peter broke the law of man and God. But God’s mercy prevailed for Peter, and rightly so.
And when the sinful woman washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, he said, “Therefore her sins, and they are many, are forgiven, for she has loved much; but one who is forgiven little, shows little love.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:47-48
“The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” Pope Francis
Gospel MT 5:17-19