Matthew 5:17-19

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

There are numerous times of year where there is seemingly a heightened focus on experiencing something new or completely transformational. Each new year begins with several resolutions, commitments, and enhanced hopes. Throughout the year, we mark significant dates and times such as, the coming of spring, the changing of the seasons, birthdays, holidays, and individual moments of revelation. We do this while making claims that may sound akin to, “From this day on, my life will be different”.

We all become very peculiar creatures when personally confronted by change. Change is especially desired and invited when looking around at the challenging aspects in life. However, we overlook change when we are blinded by our need to remain in a condition of comfort. It is easy to welcome change when that change transforms the world around us or confirms the incomplete conclusions we hold within us. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus speaks to those who are questioning not only who Jesus is, but they are questioning the change that Jesus’ life had been ushering in. I can only imagine the myriad of thoughts and emotions that were present as they witnessed His life.

Jesus tells the crowd that he has not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets but to fulfill them. Something was missing or had not yet been embraced by the community of faith then and is perhaps still lacking now. Listening to these words today, the change that would make all things truly brand new, is not found outside of us. Real change would be for us to fulfill our commitment to God as followers of Jesus Christ. In this season of Lent, authentic change would be dedicating our lives to practicing and teaching these commands from our Savior. Only then will we be called great in the kingdom of heaven.


Give ear to our prayers, O Lord, and direct the way of your servants in safety under your protection, that, amid all the changes of our earthly pilgrimage, we may be guarded by your mighty aid; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, for ever and ever. Amen.


The Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin, Sr.

Canon Missioner and Minister of Equity & Inclusion