Missionary Weekly Reflection
Sunday, 16 February 2020
Sir. 15:15-20; Ps. 119:1-2,4-5,17-18,33-34; 1Cor. 2:6-10; Matt. 5:17-37
“Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish it, but to complete them” (v. 17). These words of Jesus are the key to understanding Jesus’ next series of statement, also about Jesus’ relationship to the Law. The first thing to emphasize is: Jesus never wanted to erase or replace the Law. He “renewed” the way to understand and implement Jewish religion. He “fulfilled it”, in the meaning of: interpreting the Law according to its deepest meaning. As the “Son of God”, it is clear that Jesus knows the best what his Father wants, which is the root of all the rules in the Law and the Prophets’ messages. Thus, His interpretation of the Law is based on His own authority as the Son of God. That is royally emphasized and repeated: “You hear that … but I say …”.
Second, Jesus fulfilled the Law by emphasizing the heart as the source of all human actions. The Torah commandment of “do not kill” is clear and difficult to break publicly and openly. However, that is not enough. Revenge and anger that is continually kept and rooted in the heart of human must be revoked. That is the source of violence in actions and words (curses and insults, v. 22). The will of God that Jesus wanted to affirm behind this commandment is that humans must positively seek to live in brotherly love (cf. Matt. 22: 37-40; 23:23).
The commandment of “do not commit adultery” is also clear and firm. Having intercourse with other man’s wife/fiance would be punished severely: stoned to death. Obviously people didn’t dare to break them. But, it was not enough for Jesus, because this punishment only protected the rights of husband from adultery (wife was “husband’s belonging”). In fact, the Law also forbids anyone to covet another’s wife (Exodus 20:14; Deut. 5: 18,21). Thus, Jesus fulfilled the law by affirming that: all women (not just wives) had to be protected from various attitudes and actions that “make them as an object”. Looking at every woman with lust (cf. 2Pet. 2: 14,17; Sir. 9:8) has committed adultery in his heart, and the point is: has committed adultery against her. That is the woman’s rights, not the husband’s, that Jesus defends.
Third, this radicalization of Jesus’ understanding of the Law sometimes also means the annulment of the law letters. The Law allows a husband to divorce his wife (v.31; Compare Act 24: 1-4), but Jesus forbids divorce (v.32). In Jewish tradition, divorce was the man’s right. Women had no right to divorce their husband. Jesus interpreted this law in a new version: what He fought for was justice. His interpretation aimed to the arbitrariness of men, and defended wives and women.
For Jesus, the man who divorced his wife had to be blamed, because he made her commit adultery. In Jewish tradition generally only wives (or unmarried men) committed adultery, because husbands could practice polygamy. Jesus emphasized” men who marry divorced women also commit adultery (v. 32). The Law is interpreted to ensure justice for all, especially those who have been harmed!
(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:
For Evangelization intention:
Listen to the cry of the migrants: May the cry of our brothers and sisters – the migrants, victims of human trafficking crime, be listened, seriously responded and followed up by the concerned parties. We pray…
For Indonesian Churches intention:
The call for consecrated life: May the priests and religious people be able to make their life inspiring and be a testimony to the youth in order for them to be dare to follow the call for becoming priest and having monastic life. We pray…
We present the willingness of the Pastoral servants and lay cadres inside the Diocese to be more fair in their action and be a reflection of Divine Justice. We pray…