Today’s Gospel is taken from the beginning of Jesus’ sermon on the mount right after he gives us the Beatitudes. Jesus reinforces the fact that he isn’t here to abolish the law? Why would people think he would be?
This scene takes place on Mount Sinai, the same mountain Moses went up to speak to God and came down with the two stone tablets which had written on them the Ten Commandments.Jesus went up this very same mountain but instead of coming down with laws, he sits, at the top, and begins to teach. Symbolically this is massive.
The messiah was earmarked to be the new Moses, a great prophet and leader. The Messiah would usher in the messiancic age which would reunite the twelve tribes of Israel and renew Israel.
Part of the renewal process for Jesus was fulfilling the law, the Israelites were not truly fulfilling the covenant. They were preoccupied with the 613 laws of the Jewish faith and remaining clean, away from unclean people who didn’t follow the law.
Jesus needed to show them, and show us that by being a part of God’s chosen people, Israel, through our baptism, we are called to be a holy nation of priests, people who serve and minister to God.
This is why Jesus explicitly makes a point to say he isn’t abolishing the law. God still wants us to abide by his teachings and laws, but those laws extend to the neighbor, which is anyone else God puts in our path.
Remember to love your neighbor today. More than anything, Jesus wanted to teach us we cannot love God without loving our neighbor. It is our responsibility to bring the Gospel and message of Jesus to this neighbor. Everyone is invited to be a part of God’s chosen people.