Setting the Bar High

Sunday, February 19, 2023

READINGS: LV 19:1-2, 17-18; PS 103:1-4, 8, 10, 12-13; 1 COR 3:16-23; MT 5:38-48

Jesus said to his disciples at the end of today’s Gospel, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Talk about setting the bar high! This verse from the Gospel passage from Matthew sets the tone for all the readings this week. Embracing the disciple’s way of life, giving the best of ourselves – including our time, talents, and treasure – to God for His glory and for the sake of others, is the path to holiness. Yet, it appears utterly foolish in the eyes of many in this increasingly secular world.

Our Lord gives us several illustrations this weekend of this “foolish” concept: “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… love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” This is the kind of action and attitude that will make us “children of our heavenly Father.”  This is the high bar of holiness to which our Lord is calling us.

If our lifestyle and our priorities look a little foolish to the world around us, know that we are probably doing it right in the eyes of God. At the same time, we will be filled with a peace that the world around us desperately needs. And our call to discipleship may just draw those around us to the heavenly Father and a life of holiness, too. So, with God’s grace, we can confidently press on in our Christian walk, aiming to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Our all-holy God desires it and he deserves nothing less from us