Our Gospel brings us half way through Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount that is found only in the Gospel according to Matthew.
After the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple in the year 70 a.d, the Pharisees who had settled in a coastal town began worrying about their identity. They had always been the People of the Temple, so, what were thy without the Temple?
They decided on seeing themselves as the People of the Law; and by that they meant not only the old Law of Moses, but also all the laws they had added to it: like laws against mixing with Gentiles.
That had them turning against the Christians who associated with Gentiles who even ate with them. For the same reasons they turned against Jesus. Accusing him of not keeping the Law. To that Matthew quoted Jesus as saying, “I came not abandon the Law, but to fulfill it. “
The Sermon on the Mount carefully echoes Exodus 20 when Moses issued the Commandments. In that original story Moses called the elders up to be with him; while in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus called the Apostles up to be with him. The Law of Moses began with the Ten Commandments, while the Sermon on the Mount begins with Our Lord’s special commandments. The Beatitudes.