“But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.”

The Sermon on the Mount continues (Mt 5:17-19).  Jesus speaks of coming to fulfill the law and the prophets but cautions that we should not break any commandments or teach others to do the same, but rather the opposite (see above).  It is important to remember that later on in Matthew (22:37-40) Jesus tells us that what fulfills the law and the prophets is loving God totally and loving neighbor as self.  How well do we obey these requirements set forth in the Old Testament and reiterated and made manifest in Christ?  Obedience comes first.  Only then can we impart these tenets on others with full confidence which flows from our complete desire to conform perfectly to the will of God.  While impeccability is not a requirement for passing on the Faith (if it were, we could teach nothing), our example is important.  Nothing has more potential to tear down another’s faith than when we behave scandalously (i.e., not “practicing what we preach”).  “Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for [someone] to devour” (1 Pt 5:8).  Pray for the grace to be strong in the face of temptation so that when we convey “the reason for [our] hope” (1 Pt 3:15) our conviction will never allow us to give scandal to anyone (Mk 9:42).

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