The Jews when hearing Jesus would have been concerned about his teachings, especially when it came to the Law. He was teaching something that was new, or actually not new, but teaching the law now in its broader understanding, i.e. following the spirit of the law instead of the letter. When hearing this some thought he was doing away with the Law of Moses, actually he was not doing away with it but rather teaching it in its fullness. Allow me to explain.
When Moses gave us the Ten Commandments, he was giving us the Divine Law, law that was from God Himself. The Law in its nature is a teacher, it teaches between right and wrong, between virtue and sin. However, the law is just letters on stone, if the law is to mean anything those letters must be written in our hearts. The second thing Jesus wanted us to understand is that not all things are black and white or cut and dry as they say, rather one must follow the spirit of the law and judge oneself or another according to that common sense-wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit, i.e. remember the story of King David when he and his soldiers were starving and ate the holy bread which was reserved for the priests alone, objectively by the letter of the law they were sinning, but not by the spirit, because God would give His bread to a starving man, that’s common sense.
Jesus affirms that he will not abolish the law, rather that he would fulfill it. You see, you and I can never really fulfill the law to the letter, we fall in sin even the best of us and St Paul reminds us, one sin and the entire law is broken, no one stands justified by one’s self before the Lord, we stand justified through Christ and living his law in our hearts. Always remember we follow Jesus first, a person, then in consequence and even instinct we follow the law as best we can to please him but also to help us grow in holiness, it’s never the other way around.
A good reflection for us this week is to examine the Ten Commandments and to ask ourselves, “Are these laws truly written in my heart?” If not, what can I do to make it so? God bless you, Fr. John