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The Fulfilment of the Law

In Sunday's (Feb. 5, 2023) Gospel reading (Mt 5:17-37), Jesus tells his disciples, "I have come not to abolish [the law] but to fulfill [it]." In another passage (not in today's readings - Mt. 22:36-40), Jesus tells a student, "'You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind'. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments."

In Sunday's Gospel reading, Jesus explains how several of the commandments in the law should be understood as demanding even more from a disciple. It seems like he is saying that the prohibited actions should be interpreted using very broad meanings. If we go back and read Exodus 20:1-17, how might we imagine Jesus explaining the other prohibitions, such as against idols, stealing, and coveting? What about the required actions, of loving the Lord, our God, and loving our neighbor?

When we serve our neighbors, especially people who are the most vulnerable and marginalized in our society, what questions do we have about what we should do? Imagine Jesus, in the manner of today's Gospel, answering our questions, and showing us what it means to love them, as the fulfillment of God's commands.

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