“SO BE PERFECT, JUST AS YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER IS PERFECT.” MT 5:43-48
Humbly submit your will to God (Thy Will be done) and consecrate yourself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through Mary and Joseph.
Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers and sisters only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” MT 5:43-48
Jesus gives us a hard teaching today, but a teaching that every person is called to strive for to enter into His glory with Him. Remember our relationship with God is one where we recognize we can do nothing apart from Him. God’s grace is trying to pull us up to Him, our fallen human nature is pulling us down. We are called to come to His grace and be transformed.
First, there is a big difference between perfect (holy) and perfectionism. Perfectionism leads us to anxiety, worry, and misery or stems from anxiety and worry. We love to try and control everything especially when we are anxious. This does not mean we should not have earthly goals and attain them with the talents and gifts God has blessed us with and give Him the glory. To be perfect (holy) in God’s eyes is one who imitates Jesus and does the will of the Father.
How do we imitate Jesus and live the will of the Father? He came to save not condemn. Time and time again He looks at us with mercy. He sat with tax collectors and sinners, prostitutes, and healed the deformed, deaf, and blind. Many of us run the other way when we see a homeless person, someone different in our class, the drug addict or prostitute and we judge.
I judge my family and friends, those closest to me even more. I need to love not judge. This is difficult and requires God’s grace. We are all sinners in God’s eyes. Not once has He not forgiven you or the murderer if he/she has truly reconciled themselves with God and is no longer a threat to society and is mentally stable. Many of our greatest Old Testament figures like David (in the lineage of Jesus Christ Himself) murdered and cheated on His wife.
This is difficult when we look with a perspective from our head and not our heart (where God dwells). This is not to say that sinners are not judged rightly by God. God deals with our sin with mercy and judgment. Pope Francis has asked us to come to Jesus and be washed clean, get a new start, and allow ourselves to be loved by Christ this Lent. It is His greatest desire.
We are His “the one”. He is constantly thinking about us, thirsting for us, to open ourselves up to Him so we can be other Christ’s for the world. When we do this with a clean heart and desire nothing but Him, we begin to really start loving. Nothing else matters except to live for Christ.
What makes this difficult is it requires change. I hate change. It’s hard and requires work and sacrifice. Relationships are built on trust, faithfulness, and forgiveness. These are characteristics that require work and sacrifice. Once we have made a decision to love and be holy like Christ and allow Him into our innermost being, we want to fight sin harder, receive the Sacraments more faithfully, drink from the Bible more deeply to get to know Him better, spend time talking to Him in prayer every day, offer our sufferings up with His to be purified no matter how much pain and suffering we are going through.
Why? When a person comes to Jesus, He never fails them. He is the only One who cannot fail you. It is against His nature not to love, forgive, and have mercy on us. Love and mercy are His very Being. This is why He teaches to love our enemies. His love is the most radical. God’s love loves the unlovable. It is unfair. It is sacrificial. It is the most powerful thing that exists in the entire universe because it does not divide but brings everyone and everything into harmony.
The best way to respond to this love is to radically love back and share this radical love with others. Don’t you want to live with the most radical love? Who wants a hollow, weak, unstable love? We look for love in all the wrong places. Give God a chance.
Finally, we desire holiness with our whole heart, mind, body and soul when we get to know Jesus personally. ”So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” MT 5:48 With God’s grace in the Catholic ER (Eucharist and Reconciliation/sacraments), the Scriptures, and prayer we can continue to live in the state of grace.
With a conversion of heart, we begin to repent, grow closer to Jesus and love our neighbor as ourselves. Love is at the center of conversion. Look at the crucifix and begin your journey to love back. The blood of Jesus is enough. Allow yourself to be forgiven in His blood.
Today’s challenge: Be a more loving person! Get to know Jesus personally, it will be the most important decision you make in your life. It is the only decision to make if you want to be with the Father in heaven for all eternity!
Be a servant, become a saint!