Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Reflection: Matthew 5:17-19

Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent - Matthew 5:17-19

The Gospel today is only three verses long; however, it is a very powerful passage.  Jesus begins by telling his disciples that his purpose is not to abolish the law or to criticize what the prophets proclaimed and taught.  Jesus’ intent is to fulfill the law.  Jesus also emphasizes that keeping the commandments is essential.

In the eyes of the Pharisees, however, Jesus frequently disobeyed Jewish law. They often criticized him for not following the law – at least as they believed it should be obeyed.   The Pharisees lived by the letter of the law, so they thought that they had grounds for their criticism of Jesus.   For Jesus, the law of love was primary, and he responded to people and situations with love and compassion rather than legalism.

We also can become legalistic as the Pharisees were.  We may observe another person doing something that we may judge as not correct. Yet, who are we to judge?  We don’t know why the person is doing what he/she is doing.  The bottom line is that it is not our place to judge.  God is the one to judge.   While we don’t like or appreciate when another judges us, at times we fall into judging – perhaps before we even know it.

The grace is that we can pull ourselves back from our judgment — if we desire to.  If we practice doing this often enough, we may find that we don’t jump to judgment as automatically as we once did!

Today I invite you to be aware of your thoughts and especially your judgments.  Pay close attention to your interactions with the people you may not like very much or who get on your nerves.   We may be more likely to find fault with them than with someone we like or love. 
We will never be perfect in keeping the commandments; However, each day, each hour, we can strive to love others more fully and without judgment.  This is all God asks of us.

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