“Be perfect, just as your Heavenly Father is perfect”
What does this call to “Be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” mean? In the Greek language, the word “teleios” perhaps is better translated as “be complete.” What does it mean to be complete? It means to be a Living Image of God.
In reference to the Father’s perfection, Jesus says, “He makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” The sun shines on everyone whether or not they deserve sunlight; it rains on everyone whether or not the persons deserve rain or not. The new teaching of being images of God’s unconditional love underlines a way of relating to others. This way of relating is beyond my setting limits on what people deserve or do not deserve.
The Heavenly Father pours out his gifts on His creatures regardless of whether or not they deserve it. We are called to pour out our forgiveness, compassion, understanding and generosity to others whether they deserve it or not according to our limited understanding.
When we are hurt, the first reaction is to retaliate. We hear that phrase from the Old Testament, “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” This may sound originally harsh. But in Old Testament times this was a way of limiting retaliation. It represented limiting revenge. It was the start of moral progress. It prevented unrestrained killing.
Jesus however invites us to say goodbye to revenge. When someone hurts us, we are called to go beyond the initial reaction to hurt that person back. These teachings may sound initially strange. “But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other as well. If anyone wants to go to law over your tunic, hand over your cloak as well. Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go two miles…”
Further Jesus says, “…Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” He is calling us not to act in the way of retaliation, not to pay back injury for injury, not to seek revenge. Christ is asking us not to respond to hurt by hurting another. He is asking us to be an image of God’s unconditional love.
We recently celebrated Valentine’s Day. The Savior on the Cross was the Heavenly Father’s valentine to us. He gave us the gift of His Son. We did not deserve this gift. But it is there for all of us to receive. There on the Cross is the invitation and the example of how we are to respond.
When we are hurt, we go through a process in order to be healed. Ideally, if someone apologizes, we can forgive that person. For serious injuries, we still go through a process for healing. The goal is to let go of the anger. Let go of the desire to hurt the person that has hurt you. The goal is to rise to the level of understanding that Jesus displayed on the Cross. In the midst of all His injuries, the Savior prayed, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
With God’s grace, we are called to resist the natural impulse to hurt the persons who may have hurt us. Instead of retaliation and revenge, we are called to address the hurts and then let go of them. Forgiveness enables us to be free. Forgiveness breaks the cycle of hurt and violence.
As we listen to these directions today, let us look to the Cross for the power and the strength to be living images of God’s unconditional love to our world.
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May our prayers bring healing, comfort and strength to the sick and their caregivers.
Mary Adams, Tim Angelone, Greg Basco, Gwen Beres, Mary Ann Betliskey, Bill Bican,
Joyce Bican, Phillip Bilelo, Noella Burrows, Donna Czyzynski, Corrine Dawe, Angelo DeNova,
Olivia Donovan, Jose Dybzinski,
Jason Glaros, Kristin Hill, Millie Jasany, Lucy Konkoly, Tom Konkoly,
Judy Landolph, Bishop Richard Lennon,
Art Madsen, Cindi Magyar,
Dorothy Mangan, Therese McFadden, Rose Meadows, Jeanette Miller, Marguerite Miller, Jeannette Morrow, Louis Novac, Art Novotny, Dan Palmentera, John Pocius, Betty Rhine, Brianna Rhine, Bob Schippling, Elaine Stack, Rev. John Tezie, Ed Vitigoj, Carole Walk, Ron Walk, Robert Wagner and David Zelenka.
May our Loved Ones who have died rest in eternal peace in heaven remembering especially Rev. Daniel Begin and Rev. Robert Lussier, SSS, whose funerals were last week.
For the Men and Women serving in the military, especially those from our parish & their families.
|Sunday, February 19th||4245.00|
|St. Vincent de Paul Society||510.00|