Thought of the day
Sunday, February 12, 2017

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Saint Irenaeus of Lyons (c.130-c.208), Bishop, theologian and martyr Against the heresies IV,13,3 (cf. SC 100, p. 525f. rev)

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Commentary of the day 

Saint Irenaeus of Lyons (c.130-c.208), Bishop, theologian and martyr 
Against the heresies IV,13,3 (cf. SC 100, p. 525f. rev)

The Law rooted in our hearts

The Law contains natural prescriptions that already administer justice, and even before the gift of the Law to Moses, people observed these prescriptions and were justified by their faith and were pleasing to God. The Lord has not abolished those prescriptions but developed and fulfilled them as the following words testify: “You have heard that it was said: 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Mt 5:27-28). And again: “It was said: ' You shall not kill.' But I say to you: whoever is angry with his brother without reason will be answerable to the court” (cf. Mt 5:21f.)... And so on. None of these prescriptions imply either the contradiction nor the abolition of those that preceded them, but their fulfilment and development. As the Lord himself says: “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:20). 

What does this development consist in? In the first place, no longer believing only in the Father but also in his Son who, from now on, has been manifested. For it is he who leads us to communion and union with God. Then, not in speaking only but in doing – for “they preach but do not practice” (Mt 23:3) – and in preserving ourselves not just from evil deeds but even from the desire of them. By teaching this he was not replacing the Law but fulfilling the Law and rooting the precepts of the Law more deeply within us... To ordain the abstention not only of acts forbidden by the Law but even of desire for them is not the actions of someone who contradicts and abolishes the Law; it is the action of someone who fulfils and extends it.