THE ULTIMATE CALL            Mt 5:43-48

Today we are called to reflect upon the ultimate call – to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect. This is not an easy task to either contemplate or accomplish. It is another example of how Jesus radicalizes the Jewish understanding of holiness and takes it to the extreme. We are called to imitate and live the holiness of God himself in our earthly lives. While none of us will live the fullness of this call because of our sinfulness, this should not stop us aspiring to such holiness and giving it our best shot!

Jesus calls us to love even our enemies. Why? Maybe he wants to remind us that no matter what a person does he or she cannot lose their fundamental dignity as a son or daughter of God. This is one of the reasons why the Church does not advocate capital punishment as a response to sin, no matter how heinous the sin. If we kill a person we deny them the opportunity to reform their lives and make reparation for their sins. I am not saying that society should not protect itself from those who will harm it, only that we should avoid taking the life of such a person if at all possible.

It is easy to love those who love us. The real test comes when we realize that we have to love those who do not love us in return! This is the nature of true love – namely giving without the demand of something in return. If we can learn ot love in this way we will have gone a long way to imitating the character of the love Jesus has for each one of us, and everyone else in the world, both friend and foe.

It is important that we pray for enlightenment and strength in this area of our lives as we all probably have a few things to learn regarding these matters. The challenge for us is to open our hearts to the grace of God and allow his love to transform us first. In this way we will be united more and more with him and so take on his character and values in a deeper way each day.

Are there any prejudices or wrong ways of thinking that I need to change in my life? How can I practically go about doing this?

Holy Spirit, I need your help to overcome these struggles in my life …. Help me to see opening my life to the transforming power of the Father’s love is a big first step in the right direction.