WEDNESDAY OF THE THIRD WEEK OF LENT (Dt 4:1.5-9; Ps 147: 12-13. 15-16. 19-20; Mt 5: 17-19) Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scripture, we are reminded through them yet again to be faithful to the Law and the commandments that God has revealed to us and passed down to us through our faithful predecessors, through the Lord Himself and the teachings of the Church that He has established in this world.
In our first reading today, taken from the Book of Deuteronomy, we heard the words of Moses to the people of Israel during the time of their Exodus from Egypt and journey towards the Promised Land that they all ought to be obedient to the Law and keep the precepts of the Law through the generations, not forgetting them and abandoning them, but teaching them to their own descendants and that the Law of God be preserved always, at all times.
For Moses said that those who kept the Lord’s commandments and Law would be blessed and honoured, and they would be glorified by God, as God’s own chosen nation and people. The Lord has set His Law before them to govern and guide and to help the people to keep their faith amidst the many challenges found in the world. However, over time, as the meaning and purpose, the intention and the truth about the Law became forgotten, the people began to wander off further from the Law. That is why the Lord when He came into this world as highlighted in our Gospel passage today spoke firmly that He did not come into this world to erase or cancel out the old Law of Moses, but rather to fulfil and make that Law more perfect, by revealing the fullness of its truth, purpose and intention. The Lord revealed to all of His people how they ought to come to
Him through the Law, and by their better understanding and appreciation of the Law, they can be better disciples of His. The Lord spoke of this in the face of the opposition that He encountered from the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law, many of whom opposed Him because He did not endorse or support their way of interpreting the Law.
They also saw the Lord’s teachings and His ways as being threats to their own influence and power, their prestige and status within the community of the Israelites. As a result, they tried to oppose the Lord at every possible opportunity and questioned Him whenever they had the chance to do so.
The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law favoured the very strict and ritualistic understanding and interpretation of the Law, focusing a lot on the minute details of the Law and the customs and traditions of the Jewish people. They were deeply engrossed in enforcing the strict and detailed observance of the Jewish traditions to a fault, even to the point of condemning all those who did not observe the Law in the way they did.
As a result, they lost their path and their way, and as the guides and the shepherds of the faithful, they ended up misleading the faithful people of God to the wrong path while closing the path to redemption and liberation to many people who could have been touched by God through their condemnation and their opposition against those whom they deemed as unredeemable sinners like the tax collectors and prostitutes among others.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all seek the Lord with a renewed faith and remind ourselves not to fall into temptations of our pride, ego and desire like those that caused the Pharisees, the teachers of the Law and many of our predecessors to fall into sinful and wayward ways. This is why we are all reminded that we should seek to appreciate what the Law of God truly is for us, understanding its meaning and significance, by deepening our faith and relationship with God in our daily living.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, are we willing to commit to the Lord anew with faith and dedication, with true and sincere love for Him? Let us all appreciate everything that He has done for our sake, in giving us His Law and commandments to guide us and help us on the way, that we may find salvation in Him and through Him alone. Let us all seek the Lord with repentant hearts, turning our whole being back towards God, and endeavour to do whatever we can to be good Christians from now on. May God bless us all, now and forevermore.