In today’s Gospel reading Jesus said that he had not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but to fulfill them. In other words, Jesus said that he had come to teach the true spirit of the Law and the Prophets. He went on to say, “not one letter, not one stroke of a letter would pass from the law until all is accomplished.”
Until all is accomplished. How are we to understand that? I think in saying that Jesus was referring to a time when the full spirit of the Law would be established.
When we look, for example, at the situation that presently exists in this country and in other parts of the world, I am afraid that the full spirit of the law still needs to be established in most parts of this world.
Jesus gave his disciples the principles that are important for establishing the spirit of truth found in any law. He tried to do this also for the crowds to which he spoke.
The basic principle with which I think all of us would agree is the Law of Love set forth by Jesus in his dissertation at the “Last Supper”. (Jn 15:12) “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
As well as this, we should also think of the Ten Commandments and the Summary of the Law as we have them in the BCP. (BCP pp. 350-351) Think of these things as a base line.
I don’t think we need to go back to the time when the Ten Commandments were required to be prominently displayed in every court of law. But we should think about the many places in the Bible where the same or similar humanitarian principles are also shared in the teachings of most of the major religions of the world.
The often quoted passage from the Prophet Micah comes to mind, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Another is the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (This appears in variant forms in the writings of several of the major World Religions.)
Do you accept the full spirit of the Law and the Prophets as the Church accepts it?
Do you try to observe it?