Intention: For God’s wise and guiding grace in the lives of all who are being affected by COVID-19: those afflicted with the disease, family members or friends of those afflicted, caretakers of those afflicted, and persons who are entrusted with decisions of public health and safety.
Today’s Gospel | Matthew 5:17-19
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
A Lenten Reflection
Among the many activities of daily living, one constant is that of having to make moral choices. Traditional Judeo-Christian thought offers the insight that all choices are, because of their ultimate context, moral choices. Human beings share one planet and one humanity. Anything we do, no matter how seemingly insignificant, has the potential to result in some effect of good or harm for ourselves, others, and our world. Jesus had much to say about this, especially when it came to Judaism’s central body of moral teaching: the Law of Moses.
For Jesus, to know the Law meant not only to know its words but also to know its heart: the covenant of faithfulness between God and his people. Regardless of the practice, to live the Law meant to live the unconditional love that bound God to us and to each other in him. And so, observing the Law would not fulfill the Law unless every observance embodied its heart. Understood authentically, the Law reveals the sacred nature of even the smallest of the works of our hands and minds. To live the Law is to place one’s actions in right relationship with the ways of God, transforming them into instruments of God’s saving grace.
An 18th century clergyman named William Law wrote, “If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead.” In other words, only that radical and creative view of human decisions and actions can work to put our world at one with God’s transforming and redeeming power. During Lent, we are asked to embrace that power by putting our lives on the path of God’s saving will.
Eternal Father, your Son’s passion and death on the cross challenges us to ask if we are prepared to turn away from sinfulness and die to ourselves for the sake of your kingdom. In this time of Lent, strengthen us to follow Christ’s example of obedience to your will through our zeal for proclaiming the good news of your gift of salvation.. May we root our lives in faithfulness, humility, compassion, and justice. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.