Saturday, March 15, 2014

Be Perfect, But Not That Perfect

If you cherry-pick Matthew 5:48 off of the organically blossoming harmonious branch of the thoughts of Jesus on which it is found, you're toast. Your life is going to be a hard one, your family will suffer, your friends too. Perfect doesn't mean flawless. A perfect haircut. Perfect grammar. Something akin to the world of Gattaca, a powerful film with strong Brave New World allusions and genetically modified perfect and miserably boring people.

Today's verse from Matthew 5:48 reads "Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect." When we read that scripture in its proper context, however, we find where it flows from; a more wholistic and holy place - the love of others. 

So perfection in God's eyes means loving perfectly, totally; not being totally distanced from others in the attempt to be pure. 

Blessed John Paul II put it this way. “The perfection of the Christian life is measured, rather, by... love.” 

This means that “perfection is possible and accessible to every human being, whether in a ‘religious institute’ or in the ‘world.’”  In fact, a person who does not live in “the state of perfection” can nonetheless “reach a higher degree of perfection... than a person who lives in the ‘state of perfection’ with a lesser degree of love” (TOB 78:3). 

And perfect love, St. John tells us, casts out all fear. What a sweet and liberating thought. What a freedom awaits the person who embraces the authentic Christian life! 

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