“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill." Mt 5:17We need to be careful reading this text. Sometimes we are tempted to disregard Judaism, asserting that if Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law, we no longer have to study or obey it. Jesus is not rejecting the Old Law and his Jewish heritage. After all, he insists that “not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.” (Mt 5:18) Rather, Jesus is announcing that he is the hesed of God, the fullness of God’s conditional love for all; God’s loving kindness and mercy. And more to the point of this reflection, Jesus does not want us to be trapped in our understanding of him either.
The old is good, we say, sometimes about our understanding of the Lord, our church, our catholic teaching. While all of this might be true, we have also to ready ourselves for new insights, new interpretations and a new richness that comes like a gift to those who open themselves to the unconditional love of God. Every interpretation, every insight has one purpose, to put God at the center of our consciousness. As Jesus continually reminds us, his purpose on earth is to reveal his Father’s love for all. If that means he must die, so be it. Death is a small price to pay for the salvation of the world. While we don’t want to glorify suffering for suffering’s sake, sometimes suffering is the direct result of telling the truth.
If you have the opportunity, have a conversation with a Jew.
How do you understand the relationship between the Old and New Testaments?