In this week's Gospel (Matthew 5:38-48), we are called to perfect. REALLY? I am FAR from perfect. Jesus knows that none of us are perfect, but we strive to be. There's a prayer that I came across that was in 1 of my mother's prayer books. Part of it read, "Keep me reasonably sweet. I do not wish to be a saint (saints are so hard to live with), but a sour old person is the work of the devil." (Mary Wheeler) Shouldn't we strive to be saints? Doesn't Jesus ask us to strive to be perfect? To be perfect means to love your neighbor as yourself (from the First Reading- Leviticus 19:18) and not boast about human beings (2nd Reading- 1 Corinthians 3:16-23).
What does being perfect look like? You may know families who seem perfect to someone on the outside looking in, but, as I heard a priest once say, no family is perfect. We all have our struggles & crises. Someone we know may seem perfect; he or she may have it all together, be as sweet as pie, but he/she may be crumbling on the inside. We just don't know what lies underneath. It's through the struggles that we find our way to becoming as perfect as we can humanly be.
During the homily, the Deacon started out in a different direction than I. He said that, as Christians, we should strive to stand out, to be set apart. People should know right away that we are Christians. While he was talking about what "turning the other cheek" really meant, it occurred to me that it means that we should give people who have wronged us another chance. At least, that's where I thought he was going, but he interprets the phrase as standing up for what you believe and not backing down. He brought in the turmoil that's been going on with Facebook: in order to love your enemies (even on Facebook), we should act like Christians and not get sucked into (my words, not his) the negativity and hatred that is running rampant right now. I've started to only check my notifications on Facebook, and not look through my entire feed. It's a bit ridiculous, isn't it?
The Deacon ended his Homily with addressing being perfect. We are called to be as much like God as we can. We are called to be able to be convicted if we were brought in to be judged as Christians.