The free will God has given to me is such a gift, but such a pain sometimes. Yet, not for a moment would I want this gift taken from me. It has become part of my identity, my value system, my purpose in life. As I have grown older, it has become the shaper of my character, my virtue and my defining principle. Frank Sinatra's famous I Did It My Way song, can certainly be applied to the choices I and each human being has made on their life journey.
In today's Gospel, Jesus speaks about the defining values of the Hebrew People and clarifies for them that he has not come to destroy these values, but to fulfill them. Huh? Okay, what exactly did he mean by that?
I brainstorm with the reader now, that perhaps Jesus meant, "I came to explain the real meaning of the Law to you. I came to help you see that the New Covenant that I bring will be even more meaningful and fruitful for you." Or, in simple terms, he might have implied in some way, "You've ain't seen nothing yet!". Fast-forward to 2016, and we know much more from the studies of Scripture Scholars that Jesus was not into the literalism of the Commandments. He would later sum them up into two, stating that if we loved God and neighbor as ourselves, we would be including all the other commandments that in the past were so important. Or as St. Augustine once proclaimed in a sermon on 1 John 4,:4-12:
Love, and do what you will: whether you hold your peace, through love hold your peace; whether you cry out, through love cry out; whether you correct, through love correct; whether you spare, through love do you spare: let the root of love be within, of this root can nothing spring but what is good.
Jesus stood for LOVE. Jesus is LOVE. He did not come to abolish anyone or anything but the Evil Spirit's influence upon my choices. Ah, but here's the rub: I need to love as he loved, not as the world teaches me to love. The world teaches me to love myself before all else. Jesus teaches me to love by denying myself, taking up my cross and dying each day. As I cross the mid-point of Lent 2016, I want to pause to ask myself "How am I loving?" I can still redirect myself if I have strayed back into selfishness. There is always room for improvement, always HOPE. That's the Resurrection Way!