Vatican City, 16 February 2014 (VIS) – The “complete fulfilment of the Law” in the light of Jesus' teaching in the Sermon on the Mount was the central theme of Pope Francis' comments before this Sunday's Angelus prayer. The Holy Father explained to the thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square that in his first great sermon, Christ reveals his attitude towards Jewish Law, when He states, “ Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfil”, and remarks that fulfilling the Law requires a higher justice, a truer observance.
“But what does this 'complete fulfilment' mean? And what does this higher justice consist of? Jesus Himself gives us the answer with some examples”, continued the Pope. “Jesus was practical, and always spoke through examples to make Himself understood. He starts with the fifth Commandment from the Decalogue: 'You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill ... But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgement”. With this, Jesus reminds us that words too can kill. … When we say that someone has a serpent's tongue, we mean that his words can kill. Therefore, not only is it forbidden to make an attempt on the life of others, we must also refrain from pouring the poison of anger over them or striking them with slander. Nor may we speak ill of them. This brings us to the matter of gossip. Gossip can kill because it can kill someone's reputation. Gossip is a bad thing. In the beginning, it may seem enjoyable and fun, but in the end it fills our hearts with bitterness, and poisons us too. In truth, I am convinced that if every one of us promised to avoid gossip, we would eventually become saints!”
Jesus offers those who follow him “the perfection of love, a love whose only measure is to be without measure, overcoming any self-interest. Loving one's neighbour is so fundamental that Jesus states that our relationship to God cannot be sincere if we are not willing to make peace with our neighbour. … Consequently, we are called to be reconciled first with our brothers before expressing our devotion to the Lord through prayer”.
From all this, one may conclude that “Jesus does not accord importance only to disciplinary observance and external conduct. He goes to the root of the Law, focusing on intent and thus on the heart of man, the origin of our intentions, both good and evil. To guarantee good and honest deeds, legal rules are not enough; it is necessary to discover profound motivations, the expression of a hidden wisdom, God's Wisdom, which may be received through the Holy Spirit. Through faith in Christ, we can open ourselves to the action of the Spirit, which enables us to experience divine love. In light of this teaching, every precept reveals its full meaning as a requirement of love, and they all come together in the greatest commandment of all: to love God with all your heart and love your neighbour as yourself".