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."
The perfection that Jesus demands of us, not in relation to our activities, but simply to his Father. Perfection in freedom and goodness, perfection in mercy and forgiveness, perfection in the way we look at each other, etc. Perfection, not in doing, but in being. Be a perfect man, act and think like a man, not like an animal, who only sees his need.
The man par excellence is found in the person of JESUS, and by imitating Jesus, you will become a perfect man. God does not ask us to be perfect divinely, but He simply asks us to be perfect humanly. This perfection in our humanity is quite possible. Very often I used to make jokes by telling, if a dog can be dog and a cat to be a cat, why can’t man with all the means possible, can’t be man? Can we take this seriously and act upon?
Action of the day: Be human in your words and deeds.
“Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you”
Fr. Joan COSTA i Bou
Today's Gospel exhorts us to the most perfect love. Love wants to do well to others, and here lies our personal fulfillment. We do not love for our own sake, but for the sake of doing well to our neighbor and on doing it we improve as persons. The II Vatican Council said: “man cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” That’s what Sainte Therese of the Infant Jesus meant when speaking about “making an holocaust of our life.” Love is a human vocation; our whole behavior, to be truly human, has to be the expression of the reality of our being while fulfilling our vocation for love. Saint John Paul II wrote: “Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it.”
Love has its foundation and reaches its highest form in God's love in Christ. We are invited to a dialogue with God. We exist for the love of God, Who created us, and for the love of God which keeps us, “for man would not exist were he not created by Gods love and constantly preserved by it; and he cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and devotes himself to His Creator” (II Vatican Council); this is the most important reason of its dignity. In other words, human love must remain under the custody of Divine Love, which is where it comes from, where it finds its reflection and brings it to its fullest. This is why, love, when truly human, loves with God's heart and can even embrace its foe. Otherwise, one does not truly love. To such an extent that the exigency of our giving ourselves sincerely, becomes a divine precept: “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Mt 5:48).