43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
During these days of Ordinary time, we draw to a close in the reading of Matthew’s Gospel…more commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount. Today’s Gospel reading is an explanation of how we as Christians are supposed to live. Jesus is not just talking to His apostles…He is not just speaking to a ‘few good men’…no; when Christ says : “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect,” He is speaking to all of us…to you…to me…He wishes for all of us to reach perfection.
But we are human…stained with original sin, and our inclinations tend to lead us away from this perfection, and instead we are more prone to retort this with, “Hey, nobody’s perfect…’You can’t expect me to be perfect’…’I’m only human after all’…” We’ve heard all these sayings before. Heck, we’ve probably even said them before…But the fact is, God wants us to be perfect. That is why He gave us the Sacred Scripture. In it, He is calling each of us to holiness…and the fullness of charity.
Christ wishes for all to be sanctified. All who approach Him…no matter what their station in this life…All must strive to follow the Father. We are not perfect on our own…we never will be… but we must rely on our Father in Heaven to give us the graces we need. Our perfection comes from God’s perfection. He will give us what we need to achieve our way to Heaven… He has the power to change the hearts and minds of all men…we just need to be open to His gifts of Sanctifying grace.
In following Christ, there is no call for mediocrity… no call for lukewarmness, but there is a call to love, a call to be a Light of Christ… There is a call to set the world on fire for the Lord. The Lord wants us to be heroic. In whatever we do, whether or not we are called to be martyrs….everything we do should be done with the one desire of pleasing God…and that means being a hero for Christ…in all things. The mundane tasks that fill our days, or perhaps the daring travels we may undertake to share Christ’s word with the oppressed…whatever we are called to do… offer each task for God, and He will grace you with perfection. Now, it may not be perfection as the world judges perfection…but it will be God’s perfection within us…each of us…no matter what…
Sanctification is within each of our grasps. Whatever we are…a child…a teacher… whether we are single or married, a mother or a father…whether we are a doctor or a lawyer… or perhaps one who labors in the fields or collects the trash….Whatever walk or vocation in this life, God will give us the graces we need to walk the path to holiness…
God is calling each of us to holiness, wherever we are…In our families…our towns…our countries…He wants all of us to be holy in whatever circumstances…in sickness or in good health…in poverty or in wealth…in peace or in war….whether in happiness or sadness…God wants holiness. There is no circumstance that man can face, that God will not use to aid him in becoming holy. God created us to be saints. Period. There is no denying that fact. We were created to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him so that we can be happy with Him in this world and the next. That’s sainthood. Being in heaven with God. Nothing else we can ever do do will compare with that.
Of course, we must be on guard and fight the inclinations of the world that tend to pull us away from this path…It is a difficult journey for many. The world is full of countless, empty pleasures that distract…We must work hard in whatever we do. Everything can be offered to the Lord. As long as it is done well and with the purpose of bringing glory to the Lord. So whether you spend your day fighting for the oppressed or if you spend your day changing dirty diapers and mopping up messes…there is a path to sanctification for every vocation.
We must ask the Lord to help us everyday…That means making time for prayer…and uniting ourselves to the Will of the Father…in all things. If we constantly look at our lives with the eyes of man...If we measure our worth against the world….we will always fall short. We will begin to feel that perhaps we weren’t meant for greatness…we will lose hope and begin to separate ourselves from the One who can make it all possible. And because we are weak on our own, we will fill our lives with every excuse of why we aren’t striving right here and right now for our sanctification. It happens all the time. We like to procrastinate…we like things easy…I know….believe me..I know…
God also knows. That is why He sent His only begotten Son to earth. To teach us about our Father in Heaven. That is why He created the Church and gave us all the wondrous teachings that are the foundation of this great institution. And that is why He gave us Jesus in the Eucharist, to help us maintain our purpose…our focus… on things that are not of this world…on things that are of Heaven…our sanctification included. We will not get to Heaven because of the world. We will get to Heaven despite it. Only God can give us the graces we need to journey that path and enter into our eternal reward with Him. But God is awesome...He wants great things for all of us...whether we realize it or not.
Remember, as you go through your day, there has never been better time to love God with all of your heart…all of your mind…all of your being….than now…this very moment...for with Jesus, everything is made perfect…everything is made new.