Wednesday, June 12, 2013

“The eternal difference between right and wrong does not fluctuate, it is immutable.”

”A sinner cannot outrage the Deity more than by despairing of Divine mercy on account of the number and enormity of his crimes; for God's clemency is far greater than the iniquity and guilt of an entire world . . . Of God's mercy never despair.”--Venerable Blosius

Gospel Text: (MT 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.”

Sometimes we think that Jesus came to earth carrying a big eraser, and that when he redeemed us, he simply wiped out all the commandments of the Old Testament. But just because he spoke harshly to some of the Pharisees, we shouldn’t think he had the same attitude toward the Law that they upheld so rigidly. In fact, Jesus tells us that not only did he come to uphold the Law but that the least transgression against it can make us “least” in his kingdom!

In a time when moral relativism reigns, most Catholics cannot understand the concept of moral absolutes, which the Ten Commandments teach us, which Christ himself lived.

Lying is an evil.

Stealing, even covetous desire, is a sin.

Blasphemy is not cool.

Adultery, even in one's heart, is wicked.

Murder, or the wrathful condemnation at its heart, is vile.

Having any kind of sexual relations outside the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman is and always will totally against God's law.

Abortion, contraception, euthanasia, in vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning, and other aberrations of nature will always be sins against life and He who is Life Itself.

This is what the Ten Commandments teach us. This is what our age rails against and is not willing to accept. This is what Jesus Christ has to teach the modern world.

It’s important to know that Jesus didn’t say these words to condemn us but to save us. After all, he came to bring us abundant life, but he knows that in order to experience that life to the full, we need to follow his commandments. Like a parent who is trying to keep us out of trouble, he warns us to be vigilant against sin, because he knows that giving in to temptation will make us anything but happy. He knows that pursuing sin doesn’t really set us free from the Law. It only enslaves us!

How fortunate we are that Jesus doesn’t just issue warnings from afar. He is with us every day, eager to help us root out sin wherever it shows up. He is with us to prick our consciences so that sin doesn’t gain a foothold. He is there every evening to show us how we might have strayed from his truth and how we can do better tomorrow. And whenever we bring our failings into his light in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, he is there to pick us up, wash us clean, and pour out life-changing grace.

No, Jesus didn’t come to abolish the Law. He didn’t come to tell us to just do whatever we think is right. The Ten Commandments still apply to our lives. So too does the command to love God and our neighbor with all our hearts. What is different now is that we have Jesus, the One who has fulfilled the Law, on our side and in our hearts.

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