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Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam (To the Greater Glory of God)

For: Wednesday, March 10, 1999

3rd Week of Lent

From: Matthew 5:17-19

Jesus and His Teaching, the Fulfillment of the Law
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(Jesus said to His disciples,) [17] "Think not that I have come to
abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but
to fulfill them.  [18] For truly I say to you, till Heaven and earth
pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is
accomplished.  [19] Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these
commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the Kingdom
of Heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great
in the Kingdom of Heaven."

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Commentary:

17-19. In this passage Jesus stresses the perennial value of the Old
Testament.  It is the word of God; because it has a divine authority it
deserves total respect.  The Old Law enjoined precepts of a moral,
legal and liturgical type.  Its moral precepts still hold good in the
New Testament because they are for the most part specific
divine-positive promulgations of the natural law.  However, our Lord
gives them greater weight and meaning.  But the legal and liturgical
precepts of the Old Law were laid down by God for a specific stage in
salvation history, that is, up to the coming of Christ; Christians are
not obliged to observe them (cf. "Summa Theologiae", I-II, q. 108, a. 3
ad 3).

The law promulgated through Moses and explained by the prophets was
God's gift to His people, a kind of anticipation of the definitive Law
which the Christ or Messiah would lay down.  Thus, as the Council of
Trent defined, Jesus not only "was given to men as a redeemer in whom
they are to trust, but also as a lawgiver whom they are to obey" ("De
Iustificatione", can. 21).

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Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries".  Biblical text
taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate.  Commentaries
made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of
Navarre, Spain.  Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock,
Co. Dublin, Ireland.  Printed in Hungary.
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