Today's Gospel: Matthew 5:17-19
Our Lord is teaching about the Commandments in today’s Gospel. His ideas seemed completely different from what the Jews had until then understood, and they accused Jesus of having cometo abolish the law. Because of this, Jesus was the source of scandal and hatred – so much so, that the Pharisees wanted to crucify him. In the end, they did.
Jesus tells the people that he hasn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. In other words, he came to clarify and add a new dimension to what was already there. The Jews’ law was tangled in pride and paranoia. The law was about the law and not about loving God and following his ways. Jesus taught that the laws are good only when they draw us closer to God and to each other. The two greatest commandments, he later told them, was to love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself. Those weren’t a replacement for the Ten Commandments given to Moses; they were a summary.
It’s easy to get tangled up in the law when we see it only for its own sake. That’s especially true for parents. We have the laws of our family, and we insist that everyone follow those laws, or else. The laws – rules – are good and necessary, otherwise our children will grow up to be self-willed and moral deficient. But we have to look behind the rule, at its real purpose and the real reason it was broken, in order to properly guide our children.
Jesus looked at the reasons the Jews were following the law (or not) and amend, not the law itself, but rather its purpose. He taught them to honor God’s commandments with love, not fear. We need to do the same for our children.
How do I view our family rules? Are they absolute, or are there different interpretations? Or, am I completely the opposite, letting the rules go because it’s just too hard to enforce them?
Jesus, help me to follow you out of love, not fear and grant me the grace to teach my children the same.
Copyright 2014 Marge Fenelon
About the Author
Marge Steinhage Fenelon is a wife, mother, award-winning author and journalist, retreat leader, internationally-know speaker, podcaster, and Catholic media personality. She's author of the best-selling Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena, award-winning My Queen, My Mother: A Marian Pilgrimage Across America, Forgiving Mother: A Marian Novena of Healing and Peace and other books on Marian devotion and Catholic spirituality. Learn more at MargeFenelon.com.