Wednesday Third Week of Lent: Gospel and Reflection

Mass readings for today are here


Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.

Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.

Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.

But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven."


This gospel can so easily be misinterpreted and used as a casual justification for the hubris of all fundamentalist religions that rely on the coded law above all else; a code that says I am right you are wrong.

It has been perversely used to scapegoat people and is a distortion of what Jesus meant.

 Richard Rohr said
"Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity. 
He came to change the mind of humanity about God.”

Christ's "new" commandments set the bar higher than did the Old Testament commandments. 
It is rare that anyone can measure up to the "new" standards, which are those of the beatitudes.
To fulfill God's  purposes and our individual callings to pursue some part of God's overall plan we have to realise that we need God's grace to act in our lives.

“The Greek word hypokrites means ‘actor.’” In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus uses it thirteen times, often in connection with the Pharisees.
Dr John Pich, a biblical cultural scholar says, “Jesus’ frequent use of this word reveals two things. He seems to know a lot about the theatre; and he views the Pharisees as nothing more than actors…

 By calling the Pharisee ‘actors,’ Jesus intimates that Scripture may provide the lines they quote, but it is hardly the script by which they live.

‘Do whatever they teach you and follow it, but do not do as they do."

Jesus makes it clear that he, like the Pharisees, had no intention of abolishing the law.
but He had a different interpretation than some of the Pharisees. 

It was not so much the legalism of the Pharisees that he saw as hypocritical, but the hypocrisy of those Pharisees who followed the law technically, but didn’t also follow the spirit of that same law. 

Jesus  didn’t object to fasting per se, but warned that it was useless if at the same time the needs of the poor were neglected.

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