Catholic Men’s Lenten Gospel Pilgrimage – 3rd Week of Lent – Wednesday – Matt 5:17-19
Having described the great blessings of the Beatitudes and the need for men to be enthusiastic evangelists, Christ continues the Sermon on the Mount, a summary of the New Covenant. Preparing for the fuller revelation of the New Covenant which will expand beyond simple outer compliance to the 10 Commandments to a radical conversion of the heart to love, Christ authoritatively confirms the New Covenant builds upon and encompasses the foundation of the Old Covenant.
Remarkably, Christ starts by revealing that He is the fulfillment (i.e. to make complete) of the Law and the Prophets, which is a shorthand reference for the entire Old Testament. He clearly and adamantly confirms the details of the Law, saying not the “smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter” of the Law will be ignored; the perfection Christ is calling men to is an impossibly high standard. As Christ will reveal, only the Divine Mercy of God will allow men to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Christ reveals He has an intimate knowledge of the Kingdom of Heaven, knowing the hierarchy that exists (greater and lesser), the criteria by which men are judged (righteousness) and even those who will not be accepted into Heaven (The Pharisees and those who are less righteous). Christ calls all men to honor the Commandments and places great responsibility on those who teach to teach the fullness of the Commandments or face the consequences.
1) As a Person of the Trinity, Christ establishes the unbending truth of the 10 Commandments, sets the standards of righteousness and explicitly makes it clear that many won’t make it to Heaven. Be awed by Christ’s ominous power and wisdom.
2) Secular governments enacting laws which directly contradict the 10 Commandments; sadly, many in the Church are seeking to “relax” the Law by promoting false mercy. During Lent, renew your understanding of Christ’s perfection of the Law (CCC 577-582, 1965-1986) and pray for Christ to help you to become righteous.
3) It is impossible to win a game (e.g. be accepted into Heaven) if you are ignorant of the rules (10 Commandments – CCC 2052-2082, Precepts of the Church – CCC 2041-2043). During Lent, do a daily Examination of Conscience (CCC 1385, 1454) using the 10 Commandments (there are readily available guides in most parishes) and pray for Christ to fully convert your heart to seek His Kingdom.
Focus on Fatherhood – A Catholic Son must continually engage in the Spiritual Combat, growing in the blessed habits of Virtue and eradicating the cursed habits of Vice. Pray for Christ to help you to learn and daily Practice the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity and to reject the Vices of Disbelief/Lukewarmness, Doubt and Hatred.