Bible Text: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill”. Matthew 5. 17- 19
There are many instances that Jesus would criticize the Pharisees especially in the observation and implementation of the law. Sometimes He would even disregard some tenets of the law. Hand washing is considered essential to the Jewish law but Jesus violated them by eating with defiled hands. Jesus was condemned when He cured an invalid person on the Sabbath day. When the Jews noticed all these that Jesus was doing they have the impression that He is trying to abolish the law and attempting to found another religion to scrap Judaism. This is the very reason why He uttered these words to clarify that what He is doing is actually the proper observation of the law.
Jesus would like to remind them about the core value of religion. It is all about loving God and loving our neighbours. For the Jews healing the sick on Sabbath is a blatant disrespect of God but for Jesus even or especially Sabbath is a time to save life which is a clear manifestation of loving one neighbour. Apparently, this particular section is teaching us that Sunday is more than a day of obligation but a day to love the Lord by worshiping Him. When we have unreasonably missed Sunday mass it is not just a sin of violating our Sunday obligation but we have failed to love and worship the Lord. Worshiping the Lord does not only mean that we are asked to gather and in the church for the ritual but we are nourishing the life that was given to us by God. Sin is not a violation of the law but failure to love God and our neighbours.
Loving God and our neighbours is not a command from the outside but a command from the inside. The Pharisees who are the overseers whether the law is properly implemented or not were always harsh to people who fail to observe them that in many cases people are just following them for fear of punishment and expect reward for observing them. Observance of the law is a matter personal decision and a fruit of our freedom. We not want to be dictated to love but we want to love based on our personal conviction. This is what Jesus wants from us. Love is not imposed but it is a choice. We go to mass out of love not out of fear. We share something to our neighbours out of joy not so much to be seen and praised by others. When there is love, we go beyond the boundaries of the law, we want to do more and we want to give more. Tremendous love in our hearts makes us realize that loving God is not just attending mass; it is surrendering everything that I have in life. This is our religion. This is our mission. This is our life.