“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Jesus frequently and openly violates Jewish law yet instructs the disciples to be sure not to teach or lead anyone from the smallest letter of the law. God gave Moses ten commandments and the elders wrote 613 laws about how to live out these commands. The prophets proclaimed that God writes his laws on his people’s hearts. Through his life, death and resurrection, all the prophecies and laws of the Old Testament are fulfilled and made new in Jesus.
Two thousand years later the Church has amassed volumes of theological teaching and Scriptural interpretation, magnificent cathedrals and churches throughout the world and supports believers around the world. I love Pope Francis’s description of the Church as a field hospital in the middle of a war zone: a place of service, healing, community, love and commitment. I think it is a wonderful description of Jesus’s mission on earth.
In this season of Pentecost and the pandemic, I ask myself how am I fulfilling God’s law in my heart and his invitation to follow Jesus’s example in the midst of such suffering, death and civil unrest.
—Joe Spina is a former member of the Parish Mission Team of the Archdiocese of New York as well as working in prison ministry. He trained as an Ignatian spiritual director through the Center for Spirituality and Justice in Bronx, NY.
Lord Jesus Christ, with your Father in heaven,
fill us with your Holy Spirit.
Help us bring healing to the sick, consolation to those who mourn,
peace in time of unrest, and comfort to those in need.
We pray that your law fills the hearts of all and renews our unity as your people.
Through the intercession of Mary, our Mother, and Jesus her Son, we pray.
—Joe SpinaPlease share the Good Word with your friends!