From the Pastor
This past Monday, we started our new program called Forming Missionary Disciples. It is our response to your request to grow as active disciples of Christ. Even though the number was less than expected, it is hopeful to see that there are parishioners who want to grow in their faith. As we hear in the first reading today, God is willing to respect our decisions, but at the same time, He is telling us to continue trusting in Him, so we can have life everlasting.
In today’s Gospel, St. Matthew continues the Sermon on the Mount with a three-part instruction by Jesus on the Way of Life in the Kingdom of Heaven. Today’s reading is part one and deals with the Law. Part two deals with worship and religious practice and contains the Lord’s Prayer. Part three deals with trusting God and deeds of loving service to our neighbor.
When Matthew speaks of “the Law and the prophets” he means the whole Scripture. When the Messiah brings the fullness of the kingdom, none of the scriptures will be done away with. Instead, it will be fulfilled. Matthew’s Jesus does not overturn the Law of Moses, nor does he set his followers free from the Law. He requires his followers to go beyond the Law by doing more than the Law requires. The Law condemned murder. Jesus condemns anger. The Law condemned adultery. Jesus condemns even lustful looks. As Jewish Christians who had always been faithful to the Law, Matthew’s community needed a way to understand the difference that Jesus, and the kingdom he brings, have made. They affirmed that God had always been at work in history through “the Law and the prophets.” But God’s work goes beyond that to be embodied by the Messiah who reveals the definitive will of God.
The written scriptures and their interpretation in tradition are surpassed by Jesus whose life and teaching are the definitive revelation of the will of God. Is it hard to follow the law of the Lord? Yes and no. We can start by making a resolution to grow in the love Jesus teaches, let us put it into practice. We need God’s help all the time, let us pray more often and ask him to take our hearts under His protection and strengthen them, so as to grow in His authentic love.
Peace and all good,
Fr. Oscar Mendez, OFM
Mission San Luis Rey Parish
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