Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday word, 27 Feb 2008

Wednesday, Third Week of Lent (27 Feb 2008) Dt 4. 1,5-9; Ps 147; Mt 5. 17-19
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Living Wisdom

Jesus used amen uncharacteristically and uniquely: he began statements with it. Meaning “so be it,” amen came at the end of a statement as a word of affirmation of another’s statement. Jesus used it at the beginning to affirm not another’s but his own pronouncements.

Not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter in torah will pass away depended on Jesus’ stated purpose to fulfill...the law and the prophets. By to fulfill Jesus meant to reveal, which Jesus proceeded to do in the next two dozen verses of this section on torah, that is, the law and the prophets: "You have heard it said...but I say to you...."

Jesus interpreted the law and the prophets beyond these verses. Jesus interpreted the law and the prophets by his life, ministry, dying and rising. Jesus surpassed the law and the prophets as they had been interpreted by the religious leaders of this day. The manner in which they had done that laid burdens upon people hard to carry./1/ It was by no means God’s desire to burden people but to free them to live.

Indeed, putting into practice in daily living the law and the prophets made people close to God and also attracted people to God, as Moses had said: the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and say, ‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people.’

That we ponder and more deeply appreciate Jesus’ interpretation of the law and the prophets is clear from Jesus’ farewell closing Matthew’s gospel: “Go, therefore...make disciples of all nations ...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”/2/

The One who is with us always is the same who reveals to us in each moment how we may practice more faithfully the desire of God. That desire is no less than divine life given us to share already, and to share it fully on the day when Jesus will reveal it in person. As we live it we attract others to God, often without knowing it.
/1/ Matthew 23. 4.
/2/ Matthew 28.20.
Wiki-image of Jesus preaching in the synagogue is in the public domain.

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