St. Anthony of Padua, Priest & Doctor of the Church
I Kings 18:20-39 + Matthew 5:17-19
June 13, 2018
“I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.”
This week we’ve begun to hear Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, from the fifth chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel account. After the Beatitudes (in Monday’s Gospel) and the similes of the disciples as salt and light (in yesterday’s Gospel), Jesus today sets the framework for the teachings He’s about to offer the disciples. We could sum up this framework with these words: “I have come not to abolish [the Law] but to fulfill.”
Having said that, in the rest of today’s Gospel passage He strictly directs His disciples to integrity in their lives. There must be integrity between, as we would put it today, what they practice and what they preach. With this demand Jesus issues a warning and promise: “whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven”, while “whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
Every Christian is, by virtue of baptism, called to be a teacher. We remember St. Francis’ admonition to “preach always, and if necessary, use words.” As each of us makes our nightly examination of conscience, we look for the integrity Jesus has asked of us, in what we’ve taught others by our actions and words.