Gospel: Matthew 5:43-48
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? As for you, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
“As for you, be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Jesus makes another exhorta tion which is hard to swallow. It is loving one’s enemies. We can imagine that his listeners were re acting as he was saying this thing, like “turning the other cheek.”
But Jesus does not stop issuing such statement. He con tinues to motivate them. He re minds them of the magnanimity of the Father who is not selective in extending his blessings. He uses the imagery of the sun and the rain that benefit all.
Jesus also reasons out that lo ving one’s enemy brings them to a higher level of existence. Limiting love to only those who love us is living like the tax collectors and other sinners. His disciples must exhibit an outstanding behavior. They must outdo the pagans who are nice only to their friends.
At the end, Jesus gives them the ultimate reason for doing something more than usual: to be perfect like the Father.
Perfection is not about preci sion, flawlessness or getting a one hundred percent score, but the ability to extend one’s heart even to those who are not pleasant in one’s sight. It is going beyond our own pride and established beliefs to be able reach out to others.
© Copyright Bible Diary 2019