Readings: Deuteronomy 4:1. 5-9; Matthew 5:17-19
"Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them." (Matthew 5:17)
The longest of the 150 psalms in our Bible begins, "Ah, how happy those of blameless life who walk in the Law of the Lord." Then follow 176 verses elaborating this message, which conclude, "I have never forgotten your commandments." It is worth our while, then, to dedicate one day in this Lenten season to reflect on this law which the psalmist described as "a lamp to my feet, a light on my path".
The words of Moses quoted in today's passage from Deuteronomy give us a starting point. God's laws, Moses teaches, are a source of life. Keep them, he adds, and other nations will admire your wisdom, your understanding and your prudence; they will envy your good fortune. They offer a path to life not only for those who heard Moses, but for their children and the generations to follow.
In his Sermon on the Mount, as he begins his ministry, Jesus, the new Moses, speaks of these laws. He has come to "complete" them, so that their purpose could be achieved. He completes them with his own teaching and his way of life. Towards the end of his ministry, he sums them up in terms of love of God and love of neighbour. He speaks, too, of the prophets. Twice in his teaching, he quotes the prophet Hosea, where God says, "What I want is mercy, not sacrifice." May we find our joy and happiness, wisdom, understanding and prudence in living a life in which Jesus is our guide and our law.
Father, we pray that we may understand the law that Christ brings us as a road to life; may we interpret it in terms of the love of God and neighbour. Through his teaching and actions, your Son taught us how to do this. Amen.