THE WORD BECAME FLESH
Tuesday of Eleventh week in the Ordinary Time, 2021
Be ye Perfect
Dear friends in Christ, often people seek to be the best in what they do. To become the reference point in their chosen career or vocation. People struggle and work so hard to make sure, that they come, at least close to being perfect. Jesus sets that same target, for his disciples. He knows that perfection is found only in God, but he calls on his disciples to aim at that perfection, as the best way to show forth, that they have been created in the image and likeness of the Father, who is perfect.
Our first reading today (2 Corinthians 8:1-9) Paul was writing at a time when many of the Jewish converts in Jerusalem were being dislodged, dispossessed, disinherited and branded as traitors. Paul therefore calls on the Christians in Corinth to be generous as this amounts to showing genuine love to those in need. He sets before them the example of those in Macedonia who, “In severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part.” We must never shy away from responding to the needs of the poor of our time.
The Law of the New Testament, as seen in the Gospel of today (Matthew 5:43-48) is not about reciprocity but unconditional love. While the old law says, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy,” Jesus commands, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Love in this case is not about how you feel, not about reciprocity but a determination of the mind to show good will to everyone, friends and foes alike. This is definitely a good chance to overcome the obstacles in doing good. This type of love is no more ordinary human love, it has crossed to the level of the divine—agape love. Jesus says by doing this, “You will be sons of your Father who is in heaven…” There is a great lesson for us here and Jesus gives us an example, “For he makes his sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.” God is generous and kind to all irrespective of whether they are saints or sinners. The resources of the earth are available to all alike. If you are good only to those who are good to you, Jesus says that, you are not different from others, because tax collectors and Gentiles do the same. To be perfect like your heavenly Father means, to be good to all. It is love that makes us pray for the sinner, for even the one who professes himself an enemy, it is love that moves us to be good to those who do not deserve our love, those who do not deserve our care, those who do not deserve our generosity. If God were to mark our weakness and sins, we do not deserve the goodness he showers on us daily. Be ye perfect, loving and merciful, like your heavenly Father.
Let us pray: Lord, it is hard to be good to someone who does not deserve it, but because you have asked us to, we will try our best. Give us the courage to love as you love, to forgive as you forgive, to be merciful as you are merciful. Amen.