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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

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

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impossible demands

"Whoever breaks the least significant of these commands and teaches others to do so shall be called least in the kingdom of God." —Matthew 5:19

Jesus called us not only to obey the commandments but also to fulfill them. In the Sermon on the Mount, He explained six ways of fulfilling various commandments. For example, we fulfill the fifth commandment, which forbids murder, by not even growing angry with others (Mt 5:22). We fulfill the sixth commandment by not even looking lustfully at another (Mt 5:28). Jesus even told us to actively express love for our enemies (Mt 5:44).

Jesus set the highest standards in history. He called us to obey both the letter of the law and its spirit. He demanded that we have not only good behavior on the outside but good motives on the inside.

Jesus challenged us to do the impossible, as matter of course. Jesus did not abolish the law, but abolished any hope we ever had of keeping the law by our power. Jesus has set such high standards that it's obvious no one can meet them.

We desperately need the Lord. He is the only Way in which we can live the spirit of the law and become holy as He is holy (Mt 5:48; 1 Pt 1:16).

Prayer:  Father, do the impossible in me each day this Lent.

Promise:  "Take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children's children." —Dt 4:9

Praise:  Joan repented of anger toward fellow Christians and experienced anew the power of the Holy Spirit in her life.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Sanctity and Service on audio AV 40B-1 or video V-40B.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 3, 2006 & September 18, 2006

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