"Not the smallest letter of the law, not the smallest part of a letter, shall be done away with until it all comes true." —Matthew 5:18
During Lent, we imitate Jesus in the desert when He overcame the temptations of the devil. Satan tempts us not only to rebel totally and defiantly against the Lord but also to "cut corners" and mildly modify God's commands. Jesus, however, challenges us: "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). The Lord calls us to obey Him totally, carefully (see Dt 4:6), and exactly. Because the Lord is the great, all-holy God, His slightest wish is of great significance. This does not mean that we are to become scrupulous, casuistic, or pharisaical. However, true love is concerned with being like Jesus in doing and saying only what God His Father told Him (Jn 5:19; 8:28).
This Lent, let us ask the Holy Spirit to guide us to the truth (Jn 16:13) in areas where we let our culture condition our ideas and morals. Where have we compared ourselves with others rather than to God's standards? Where are we keeping up with the times rather than crucifying our "flesh with its passions and desires"? (Gal 5:24) Where are we gradually being manipulated into tolerating filth at which we would have been appalled a few years ago?
Obey as Jesus obeyed — as strictly as He walked the way of the cross.
Prayer: Father, teach me to obey by Your standards.
Promise: "Whoever breaks the least significant of these commands and teaches others to do so shall be called least in the kingdom of God." —Mt 5:19
Praise: Robert turned the television off during Lent and found his life greatly enriched.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet Obeying God or on audio AV 62-3 or video V-62.)
Nihil Obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 1, 2002
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 7, 2002