This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
One evening, the Community of Passionist Partners of San Antonio gathered to celebrate a Mass at Casa Pasionista Guadalupe, our residence here in San Antonio. Our theme for that Mass was forgiveness. Our custom is to share our experiences in light of our faith during the homily time. I don’t remember the Gospel we used for that Mass, but I do remember one of the reflections given at that Mass. In a hushed voice, someone in our group told us about the day his father was murdered a long time ago in another country. He comes from a large family. They lived on a ranch. After the shock wore off, the mother called the family together and made them promise on their father’s blood that they would not seek revenge. It was then, he said, that he began to understand the challenge of the commandment so clearly stated by Jesus in today’s Gospel, “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.” A few lines later, Jesus continues: “So be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that the perfection that Jesus is talking about is doing things perfectly. But Jesus says: “Be perfect” and not “Do things perfectly“. Being perfect is about loving our neighbors and our enemies, forgiving those who wrong us, accepting the gestures of reconciliation when offered to us, among other things. As we know, this passage comes at the end of the “Sermon on the Mount” which begins with the Beatitudes. This sermon is about changing our way of life. It is about conversion. It is about becoming a new person in the image of our Loving God. So, Jesus was not talking about perfection as doing things perfectly. Rather Jesus was saying that being perfect is being like God, a God who is loving, compassionate, just, merciful, forgiving. Our behavior needs to flow from a new understanding of who God is, from a heart that is filled with love for God and for the other no matter how rude and mean they are and from a commitment to doing whatever it takes to be faithful, in good times and in bad, whether we are alone or with others. We become perfect when we acknowledge that it is impossible to be perfect on our own. But with God, everything is possible. This is the moment that we realize God is asking us to live a mystery: Being perfect is really about being dependent upon God. The vast majority of us have not had to face a violent past. But we all have had to face times in our lives when we had to choose between anger and composure, vengeance and forgiveness, retribution or reconciliation. It is faith in a God who loves, a God who forgives, a God who is compassionate, a God of mercy that allows us to become perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. Fr. Clemente Barron, C.P. is a member of the General Council of the Passionist Congregation and is stationed in Rome.
He gives power and grace to those who believe and accept the gift of the Holy Spirit. His love conquers all. Our love for others. He knows our weakness and sinfulness better than we do. hatred. Only the cross of Jesus Christ can free us from the tyranny of malice. prejudices and griefs. Such love and grace has power to heal and to save from destruction. nor make me bitter towards anyone. even our hurts. And he assures us of his love. God is good to the unjust as well as the just. “ Lord Jesus. fears. not as they deserve. Our prayer for those who do us ill both breaks the power of revenge and releases the power of love to do good in the face of evil. revenge.” . even those who hate and abuse us. take away my joy. Do you know the power of Christ’s redeeming love and mercy? Was Jesus exaggerating when he said we must be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect? The original meaning of “perfect” in Aramaic is “completeness” or “wholeness – not lacking in what is essential. It is easier to show kindness and mercy when we can expect to benefit from doing so.REFLECTION: What makes Christians different from others and what makes Christianity distinct from any other religion? It is grace – treating others. Do you want to grow in your love for God and for your neighbor? Ask the Holy Spirit to change and transform you in the image of the Father that you may walk in the joy and freedom of the gospel. but as God wishes them to be treated – with lovingkindness and mercy. and resentment and gives us the courage to return evil with good.” God gives us every good gift in Jesus Christ so that we may not lack anything we need to do his will and to live as his sons and daughters (2 Peter 1:3). His love embraces saint and sinner alike. How can we possibly love those who cause us harm or ill-will? With God all things are possible. and grace to follow in his ways. your love brings freedom and pardon. How much harder when we can expect nothing in return. Fill me with your Holy Spirit and set my heart ablaze with your love that nothing may make me lose my temper. ruffle my peace. God seeks our highest good and teaches us to seek the greatest good of others. must be marked by the same kindness and mercy which God has shown to us. mercy. even those who are ungrateful and selfish towards us.