Wednesday of the Tenth week in Ordinary Time
“I have come, not to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them.”
Do you want to know how Jesus, far from abolishing the law and the prophets, comes rather to confirm and to complete them? Where the prophets are concerned, this happens first of all when he confirms through his works what they had announced. This is where the expression comes from, constantly repeated in St. Matthew: “That the word of the prophet might be fulfilled”…
Where the law is concerned, Jesus fulfilled it in three ways. First of all, by not omitting any of its legal requirements. He told John the Baptist: “We must do this if we would fulfill all of God’s demands,” (Mt 3:15). To the Jews he said: “Can any of you convict me of sin?” (Jn 8:46)… In the second place, he fulfills it because he wanted to submit himself to it for our salvation. Oh marvel! By submitting to it, he communicated to us, too, the grace of fulfilling it! St. Paul teaches us this when he says: “Christ is the end of the law. Through him, justice comes to everyone who believes,” (Rom 10:4). He also says that the Savior condemned sin in the flesh “so that the just demands of the law might be fulfilled in us who live not according to the flesh,” (Rom 8:4.) He also says: “Are we then abolishing the law by means of faith? Not at all! On the contrary, we are confirming the law,” (Rom 3:31).
For the law aimed at making a person righteous, but it didn’t have the strength do so so; then Christ came, he who is the end of the law, and he showed us the way which leads to righteousness, that is to say faith. Thus he fulfilled the law’s intention. The letter of the law could not justify the sinner; faith in Jesus Christ will justify him. That is why he can say: “I have not come to abolish the law.”
Now, if we look more closely, we can perceive a third way of fulfilling the law. What is this? It consists in the very precepts, which Christ had to give; far from overturning those of Moses, they are their just consequence and their natural complement.