Gospel Reading and Thoughts for February 23, 2014

Gospel – Matthew 5:38-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.

But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“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,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

 

So that’s not a difficult command at all – is it?!  Be perfect – no problem – I’ll get right on that!

Christ knows that we cannot be perfect.  To be perfect is to be without sin and we know that we have that sin attached to our souls from the very beginning.  But if we don’t even try to be perfect, we will totally fail.

toys

If we tell our kids to pick up the toys in the living room and that we want the floor spotless, I guarantee they will fail.  Toys will be left somewhere on the floor and we’ll end up picking them up.  Perhaps they were toys that the kids didn’t notice or thought they would get back to later, but toys will be left behind.  Now if we don’t tell them we expect them to pick up the toys, they don’t even try.  And the floor will never get clean that way.

In the same way, God is telling us to be perfect, knowing that this is a nearly impossible task for us, knowing that we will likely fail.  But if he doesn’t tell us to shoot so high, we definitely won’t try so hard.  We need Him to push us to be the most perfect person we can be, even if we leave a few toys scattered on the floor of our souls.

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