Wednesday of the Third Week of Lent
(Deuteronomy 4:1,5-9; Matthew 5:17-19)
Natural law is human participation in God’s eternal law. Humans are able to reason from their observance of nature to what God commands or prohibits. The essence of Israel’s law – the Ten Commandments – are said to constitute a privileged summary of the natural law. Some natural law tenets are that people should help and not kill one another.
Jesus claims in today’s gospel that he intends to bring Israel’s law to completion or perfection. He will go beyond natural law in a few cases so that his followers can live in perfect harmony. He modifies the law against adultery to include looking lustfully at a woman. He also thickens the natural law precept of love to include one’s enemies.
In recent years many societies have eschewed natural law. They have allowed abortion and approved cohabitation among other deviations from right reason. The Church cannot help but lament these practices as leading toward the dissolution of society itself. We believe that we will thrive only by following the sagacity of Jesus call to perfection.