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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

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St. Cyril of Jerusalem

Deuteronomy 4:1, 5-9
Psalm 147
Matthew 5:17-19

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"the law of the spirit" (rm 8:2)

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets. I have come, not to abolish them, but to fulfill them." —Matthew 5:17

In the new covenant, we obey the law of the old covenant. Jesus said: "Of this much I assure you: until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter of the law, not the smallest part of a letter, shall be done away with until it all comes true" (Mt 5:18). We also live by the spirit of the law (see 2 Cor 3:6). Besides this, we obey the law of the new covenant, which is much more demanding than the old law (see Mt 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44). When people tried to live the old law, they couldn't do it and were cursed (Gal 3:10). What will happen to us who undertake the much greater demands of the new law?

We will not be cursed but blessed, not because we're better than the people of the old law but because the Spirit will empower us to obey the new, stricter, fulfilled law. The biggest change of the new law is that we don't obey it by our power. Only God has the power to obey the old or new law, but God lives within us to give us His power. So living the new law is glorious, not frustrating (see 2 Cor 3:9-11).

Obeying the new law is doing the humanly impossible by the power of God, through Whom all things are possible (see Mt 19:26). By the Spirit's power, strictly obey all the Lord's commandments.

Prayer:  Father, this Lent help me to live "a life of obedience" (1 Pt 1:2), which will continue forever.

Promise:  "Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations." —Dt 4:6

Praise:  St. Cyril was a bishop for thirty-six years. He was exiled several times because of his public stand against Arianism, the heresy that denied the divinity of Christ.

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 11, 2008

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