Establishing his divine authority, Jesus offers the deeper meaning of the Law of Moses and spells out its spirit concerning specific sins of killing, which for Christ goes beyond the actual physical mortal act itself to include harboring hatred and undue resentment from the heart towards another; adultery, understood not just in terms of sexual intimacy with another person's spouse but also entailing a sinful glance at him or her; and abuse of oaths or perjury, which means not just taking God's name in vain by lying under oath but insisting as well on sincerity and honesty in relation to truth.
In the New Covenant founded on Christ, we enter into the dispensation of Grace. We are enabled by a supernatural disposition to do the good and the right concerning God's divine precepts but God still leaves it to us to cooperate with that grace. In the verse from Sirach, he tells us that if we choose we can keep the commandments and be saved (Sir. 15:15). St Augustine affirms this in regard to our free will to cooperate or not cooperate with God's superabundance grace in his classic words: God who created us without us: but did not will to save us without us. The wisdom and Spirit of the commandments are there for our good (1 Cor. 2:10) and they grant us access into the kingdom of heaven.
Christ holds us to a higher standard because of Grace. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us ( Philippians 4:13). How are you responding daily to graces you receive in the Sacraments? Will you respond to the nudge of the Holy Spirit this week as He leads you to fulfill God's commandment you have often struggled to keep? Christ's grace is available, let's make use of it.
Fr. Bernard Oniwe, OP