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A team of 200 priests comment on daily Gospel

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Liturgical day: Wednesday 3rd of Lent

1st Reading (Deut 4:1.5-9): Moses spoke to the people and said: «Now, Israel, hear the statutes and decrees which I am teaching you to observe, that you may live, and may enter in and take possession of the land which the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. Therefore, I teach you the statutes and decrees as the Lord, my God, has commanded me, that you may observe them in the land you are entering to occupy.

»Observe them carefully, for thus will you give evidence of your wisdom and intelligence to the nations, who will hear of all these statutes and say, ‘This great nation is truly a wise and intelligent people’. For what great nation is there that has gods so close to it as the Lord, our God, is to us whenever we call upon him? Or what great nation has statutes and decrees that are as just as this whole law which I am setting before you today? However, 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».
Responsorial Psalm: 147
R/. Praise the Lord, Jerusalem.
Glorify the Lord, o Jerusalem; praise your God, o Zion. For he has strengthened the bars of your gates; he has blessed your children within you.

He sends forth his command to the earth; swiftly runs his word! He spreads snow like wool; frost he strews like ashes.

He has proclaimed his word to Jacob, his statutes and his ordinances to Israel. He has not done thus for any other nation; his ordinances he has not made known to them.
Verscicle before the Gospel (Jn 6:64.69): Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life; you have the words of everlasting life.

Gospel text (Mt 5,17-19): Jesus said to his disciples, «Do not think that I have come to remove the Law and the Prophets. I have not come to remove but to fulfill them. I tell you this: as long as heaven and earth last, not the smallest letter or stroke of the Law will change until all is fulfilled. So then, whoever breaks the least important of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be the least in the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys them and teaches others to do the same will be great in the kingdom of heaven».

«Do not think that I have come to remove the Law and the Prophets. I have come to fulfill them»

Fr. Vicenç GUINOT i Gómez
(Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Spain)

Today the different religions are highly respected. They all express man's quest of transcendence, of the great beyond, of the everlasting realities. And yet, in Christianism, plunging its roots in Judaism, this phenomenon is the other way round: it is God Who is in quest of man.

As John Paul II reminded us, God wants to get closer to man. God wants to address him his words, to show him his face for He is seeking closeness with him. This becomes a reality with the people of Israel, people chosen by God to receive his words. This is Moses' own experience when he says: «What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the Lord, our God, is near us whenever we pray to him?» (Deut 4:7). And, even then, the psalmist says «God has revealed his word to Jacob, his laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation; they do not know his law» (Ps 147:19-20).

Therefore, Jesus, with his presence, abides by God's wish to get closer to man. This is why He says «Do not think that I have come to remove the Law and the Prophets. I have not come to remove but to fulfill them» (Mt 5:17). He comes to enrich us, to enlighten us, so that men come to know God's true face and may enter in closeness with him.

In this way, to ignore God's suggestions, no matter how insignificant, involves a very paltry knowledge of God which, in turn, involves being considered as small in the Kingdom of Heaven. In this connection, Saint Theophilus of Antioch, said «God is seen only by those who can see him; all they need is to have the eyes of the spirit opened (...), but some men have them blurred».

In our prayer we are aiming to faithfully follow the indications of our Lord. Thus, we shall have a greater closeness with him and, therefore, we shall be considered big in the Kingdom of Heaven.