In our Gospel Reading today, Jesus makes an astounding statement: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” So nothing is going to be altered from the basic understanding and meaning of the Ten Commandments given to Moses on Mt. Sinai. And He continues: “Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place.”
Thus, there is this healthy and inspiring balance we are called to achieve between what is radically, completely and fundamentally true about our faith, and the expression and practice of this gift all the way till we breathe our last breath. We need to be ready to move forward creatively to new ways of understanding our faith and living it out. The traditions of the past are still valid but we must never get bogged down in them to the extent that we do not respond to the clear signs of the times. Tradition can be understood in two ways: either as a fundamental belief that has existed from the very beginning or simply a way of doing or understanding things which has been around for a long time.
Every year leaves fall from orange and apple trees all across our land. In the spring, newness explodes but every year, even after the changes of time and winter, those are still providing oranges and apples, as opposed to lemons and grapefruit. Yes, lots of change, but the fundamental essence remains. The day we close ourselves to change as well as the fundamental truths of our walk with Jesus, is the day we die, as Paul warns us in the Second Letter to the Corinthians: “…for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life.”
“To live is to change; to be perfect is to have changed often.” —John Henry Cardinal Newman