10th Week in Ord. Time, Wednesday – 10th June 2020 — Gospel: Mt 5,17-19
Pointers to trustworthy promises
Jesus makes clear that he is not removing or making irrelevant ‘the law and the prophets.’ He stands in the streams of righteous hope and transformative justice that both have reflected God for generations of faithful Israelites. Therefore ‘to abolish’ the law and the prophets means not to trust God’s voice at all. But Jesus wants to assert that his teachings are not erasing a letter or even a stroke of the letter of the law. For Matthew, Jesus does not replace the law and the prophets but echoes them. When Jesus refers to the law and the prophets, he is pointing to the trustworthy promises of God and affirms at the head the Ten Commandments. The promises God made, the actions God takes, the commands God voices are bound up together. And so, Jesus explains that the kingdom of heaven depends on whether we live and teach the commandments or whether we reject and teach others to reject the commandments (5,19). Again, this is not a call to moral living but a call to a life of trust in God. If we trust God’s promises, if we stand grateful to God’s actions then we will bend our lives toward the life-giving ways God has called us to follow. Breaking a commandment is not just breaking a rule; it is denying the promises and actions of God. Teaching others to do the same is not just leading them astray but de-forming their very being as children of God who promises, liberates and teaches everyone how to live an abundant life.