Gathering the Sheep
JUNE 17, 2018
"Be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect."
Jesus calls us to be perfect just as our heavenly Father is perfect. Such teaching may seem difficult to follow. How can we, human beings with all our flaws and sinfulness, be perfect like the Father? God is omnipotent (all-powerful), omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (present everywhere and all the time), and omnibenevolent (all-good). If this is what perfection means, then there’s no way we can be perfect, especially here on earth. No one is perfect except God alone.
However, Jesus will not call us to something that is impossible. To be perfect here on earth doesn’t mean that we no longer commit mistakes, that we know everything, and that we don’t sin anymore. It simply means that we should always strive to be right with God. It is a daily commitment to do better today than yesterday in terms of our relationship with Him. It means that we have to keep trying to follow God’s commandments, keep trying to pray more, keep trying to be good to our neighbors, keep trying to forgive those who have wronged us, keep trying to live a holy life by carrying our crosses, denying ourselves and following Jesus. In other words, our call to be perfect as the Father is perfect is realized by following the example of the Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ whole life is characterized by love and He has given us an example, that we should also do as He has done to us. This is what being a disciple of Jesus is all about: to be Christ-like - to live as Christ lived, to love as He loved, by this all men will know that we are His disciples, if we have love for one another. It is only in relationship with Jesus, which incorporates us into the Trinitarian communal love, that we are able to love just as God loves. Just like Jesus, our union with God in prayer should lead us to love the Father with all our heart and with all our soul. We should also be growing in our love and compassion for our neighbors, for it is inconceivable to love God, yet be without love for His beloved. This love is measured by our capacity to love the “unlovable”, to accept the “unacceptable” and to forgive the “unforgivable” for it is for these that Jesus came and has given up His life out of love for them.
However, no human effort to love as Jesus loved is ever possible without God’s grace. We need to acknowledge our littleness before God, realizing that without Him we can do nothing. Just like the Parable of the mustard seed, which when “it is sown in the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth. But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade” (Mark 4:31-32). It is when we become lowly and humble before God that He can do marvelous works through us.
Humility purifies us of any false claims to God’s favor. There is nothing in us that is capable of attracting the divine glances. It is God’s mercy alone that brings about everything good that is in us. It is God’s love that makes us acceptable to Him. St. Therese of Lisieux reminds us that people do not please God primarily by their virtues and merits, but above all by their limitless trust in His mercy. Let us learn from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who is meek and humble of heart.
Let us continue to ask God everyday for the grace of humility, allowing Him to work through us and to transform us into His likeness so that through the Holy Spirit we can love as Jesus loved and therefore be perfect as the Father is perfect. Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Thank you very much for your prayers for me and my brother seminarians, Junee Valencia and Ron Pangan. Kindly pray also for our new seminarian, Dereck Delgado. Please know that we are praying for you too.
Let us continue to pray for one another and for the Church, especially here on Guam. May God continue to heal our brokenness and manifest His glory as we cooperate in His work of salvation. May God bless you and your loved ones always!
In Christ through
Mary, Seminarian William Mamangun