Jesus did not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it (Matt 5:17). Immediately following today’s Gospel passage (Matt 5:17-19) Jesus gives six teachings, “you have heard it said to you…but I say to you…” You have heard it said you shall not kill but I said to you whoever is angry is liable to judgment. Jesus wanted to make it clear even before he raised certain Jewish understandings to a higher level that he was not abolishing the Law but fulfilling it.
Msgr. Machalski, as a lawyer, will be happy that I say it: Indeed it would be unthinkable that Jesus would abolish the Law because according to the Babylonian Talmud God spent the first three hours of every day sitting studying the Law! So God knows exactly how you feel spending the first three hours of every day in class! Not even the smallest letter of the Law would be changed. God changed Sarai’s name to Sarah by removing the tiny letter yod (י) from the end of her name. God decided to put yod at the beginning of Hosea’s name changing Hosea to Joshua. Jesus did not come to abolish the Law, or to change even one letter of it. Jesus came to fulfill the Law. That was because the Old Law was incapable of bestowing grace in the same way as the New Law.
Jews were never able to keep all the precepts of the Old Law. Instead the Old Law always showed them up as sinners. Jesus came to fulfill the Law and this he did in the most unexpected way, Calvary. The Letter to the Hebrews describes Christ’s death as a liturgy, the liturgy of Yom Kippur. Formerly the high priest had to enter into the Holy of Holies every year sprinkling blood to make atonement for sin but Christ did this once and for all on the cross. Jesus did not come to abolish the Law, not even to change one letter of it, but to fulfill it.
But on the cross Jesus has done one more, very important thing for us. He gave us His Mother as our Mother. Yesterday the Church was celebrating the feast of the Annunciation. The angel Gabriel came to Mary and announced to her that she will be a mother of Jesus. She was not married then. At that time, in Jewish culture she might of been killed for accepting the child. But she didn’t refuse. She knew that there is sanctity in human life. That’s why she is the patron of the pro-life movement. A movement, that fights for the rights of life for those who cannot do this for themselves – the unborn children.
We are blessed that we have an Icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary with us here. This icon travels through the whole world as a global campaign in support of life and family under the patronage of Our Lady of Czestochowa. The Ocean to Ocean campaign is a response of the faithful, uniting Orthodox and Catholic Christians under the patronage of Our Lady in the defense of the most vulnerable. So through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Marry, let us pray for her intercession for the protection of the family, and the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death for life and that the smallest letter in the Divine Law has not been changed.