The Gospel Today
Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.
Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away,
not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter
will pass from the law,
until all things have taken place.
Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments
and teaches others to do so
will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.
But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments
will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”
Reflection (Sem. Maximilian B. Estayo)
Before entering the seminary, I psyched myself up for a life of discipline and obedience. I recognized it as a big challenge because I have been independent all my life and no one dictated me about what I should do.
Now nearly two years in the seminary, my adjustment has been positive so far. It helped that I understand perfectly why there are rules: a priest is under the authority of the Church, and ultimately God.
Jesus in today’s Gospel tells His disciples that He was not dispensing with the law; He was in fact enforcing it. God set forth the commandments as a sign of His covenant for the Jews. He did it for love. They would be safe following it. The Jews, on the other hand, had to obey. It was their obligation under the agreement. More important, they should see it as promoting their good.
It is human nature to repulse any form of external control. That is part of our rationality and free will. We want to do as we choose. Yet, it can also put us in danger because we often make decisions based on the pleasures of the body.
That is why in the seminary, I have to always remember that the rules are designed for my welfare. If I cannot follow schedules and obey the orders of the people in charge of my formation, I can neither be a priest who is docile to the Church nor a servant who can put the interests of others before mine. As we often say, something’s got to give. I have to abide by the rules because they will make me fit for a life of service to the Church.