Jesus said to his disciples, «You have heard that it was said: Love your neighbor and do not do good to your enemy. But this I tell you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven. For He makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the good, and He gives rain to both the just and the unjust. If you love those who love you, what is special about that? Do not even tax collectors do as much? And if you are friendly only to your friends, what is so exceptional about that? Do not even the pagans do as much? For your part you shall be righteous and perfect in the way your heavenly Father is righteous and perfect».
I would like to invite you all to give little attention to the word ‘perfection’. Since we are called by Jesus to look at the Father as the model ‘par excellence’, He is telling us that we as the children of the same Father, form a single family and are called to act in a dignified way like the Father.
I would like to meditate with you all this perfection in the uniqueness of our creation. Each and every one of us are unique. Thus we need not become mother Theresa, or Christ. It is enough that we become ourselves, as God has created us. The more we discover our own interiority and our inner self, the more we will feel close to Christ and closer to the Father. It is here we will discover the divine mission entrusted to us.
It is in this self-discovery we learn to act and refuse to react. Our thinking and acting will never be conditioned by the external activities, rather with full inner discernment and wisdom. It is in looking at the life of Jesus very closely and imitating His teachings in our daily life, we learn to act like Him. It is in this thinking and acting process, our act become unique and parfait. Thus we too become parfait just like our Father in heaven.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
Pray for those who persecute you, by John Chrysostom, 347-407 A.D.
"For neither did Christ simply command to love but to pray. Do you see how many steps he has ascended and how he has set us on the very summit of virtue? Mark it, numbering from the beginning. A first step is not to begin with injustice. A second, after one has begun, is not to vindicate oneself by retaliating in kind. A third, to refuse to respond in kind to the one who is injuring us but to remain tranquil. A fourth, even to offer up one's self to suffer wrongfully. A fifth, to give up even more than the wrongdoer wishes to take. A sixth, to refuse to hate one who has wronged us. A seventh, even to love such a one. An eighth, even to do good to that one. A ninth, to entreat God himself on our enemy's behalf. Do you perceive how elevated is a Christian disposition? Hence its reward is also glorious. (excerpt from THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW, HOMILY 18.4)
«You shall be righteous and perfect in the way your heavenly Father is righteous and perfect»
Fr. Iñaki BALLBÉ i Turu
(Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, Christ invites us to love. To love without measure, which is the measure of true Love. God is Love, «who makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the good, and gives rain to both the just and the unjust» (Mt 5:45). And man, God's spark, has to keep on struggling every day to resemble him: «So that you may be children of your Father in Heaven». Where can we find Christ's face? On others, on our nearest fellow men. It is very easy to feel sorry for the starving children in Ethiopia when we watch them on TV, or for all those immigrants that every day arrive to our shores. But, what about those at home? What about our co-workers? And what about that distant relative living alone and whom we could pay a visit to, to keep her some company? How do we treat others? How do we love them? What specific deeds of service have we towards them, every day?
It is certainly very easy to love those who love you. But our Lord is urging us to go a step further, «If you love those who love you, what is special about that?» (Mt 5:46). To love our enemies! To love those we know —for sure— will never return our affection, or our smiles, or that favour. Simply because they ignore us. A Christian, truly Christian, should not love “in an interested” way; it is not enough to give a piece of bread or our alms to the kid at the traffic lights. We have to give ourselves to the others. When dying on the Cross, Christ forgave those who crucified him. No reproach, no complaint, not even a wry face...
To love without expecting anything in return. When it comes to loving we need no calculators. Perfection is to love with no measure. And we hold perfection in our hands amidst the world, amidst our daily chores. By doing what we should in every instance, not what we should like to. God's Mother, at the wedding of Cana, in Galilee, realizes the guests have no more wine. And she steps in. And she asks the Lord to make a miracle. Let us beg him to day the miracle of finding it out in the needs of our own neighbours.