Jesus calls us to a higher state of being; he calls us to perfection, knowing that we are only human and of a fallen nature. The task of following Jesus is not easy, it requires us to do things we do not want to do. Jesus expects perfection from imperfect people, why?
In today’s Gospels we hear Jesus tell us to be perfect as God is perfect:
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 only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
That is a tall order for a fallen race, but one that Jesus feels we can achieve. But can we? Or is Jesus just being a little unreasonable?
To be perfect as God is perfect.
How do we do this, where do we start, Jesus gives us a clue, to love our enemies, to pray for our persecutors. Ok, so now we have a stating point, but still… How can we be perfect as God is?
How do I love someone who hates me, how do I pray for someone who wants to hurt me?
You can, if you try, if you work at it, it’s not an overnight change, but it will come. Pope John Paul II did it, we saw this after he was shot, he went to the prison and talked to and forgave the person who shot him, and he prayed for him. Pope John Paul II was just a normal person, like you and me; he too was of a fallen nature. I am sure John Paul was not always like this, I am worked at it, prayed about it, and struggled with it. But John Paul seemed to find a way to achieve small moments of perfection.
Take the small moments of perfection and add to them, grow them, and allow them to take root. We all have them, those small moments of perfection, when we watch the TV news, we see the story of murder or war, and we say a little prayer for a more peaceful world, that’s a small moment of perfection. But add to it; add on a prayer for the enemy army, that they too may seek peace. When you pray for the victim of murder, add in a pray for the murderer, that they may seek Gods grace and forgiveness. Its only a small moment of perfection, but its perfection.
Seek out the small moments, look for opportunities to be perfect as God is perfect, look for chances to pray for your enemies and before you know it, the small moments will be second nature.