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Wednesday, June 13, 2001

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St. Anthony of Padua

2 Corinthians 3:4-11
Psalm 99
Matthew 5:17-19

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impossible plus

"The written law kills, but the Spirit gives life." —2 Corinthians 3:6

It was clear to those who observed Jesus that He had a different attitude toward the law of Moses. Some people mistakenly thought that Jesus came "to abolish the law and the prophets" (Mt 5:17). But Jesus did not ignore the details of the Law. Rather, He put the Law under a microscope and commanded us to obey even the smallest part of a letter of the Law (Mt 5:18).

Detailed obedience to the Law is so demanding that it is humanly impossible. Nevertheless, Jesus even commands us to go beyond the impossible. "The written law kills, but the Spirit gives life" (2 Cor 3:6). We must exactly observe the Law and then live and love in ways beyond the requirements of the Law. We must go beyond the minimum, for love seeks the maximum.

We are in a doubly impossible situation — exact observance of the Law plus love to the maximum. Jesus' demands would be totally unreasonable if He had not given us the Holy Spirit, Who makes it possible for us to do the impossible. "There is no condemnation now for those who are in Christ Jesus. The law of the Spirit, the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, has freed you from the law of sin and death" (Rm 8:1-2). Come, Holy Spirit!

Prayer:  Father, send the Holy Spirit to guide me into a new dimension of obedience.

Promise:  "Whoever fulfills and teaches these commands shall be great in the kingdom of God." —Mt 5:19

Praise:  St. Anthony was an inspired preacher who performed miracles and turned men's hearts to God.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, January 4, 2001

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 24, 2001