In this Gospel extract, Jesus tells us to “Be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” He doesn’t ask us to try our best to be perfect, He simply states that we are to be perfect. This means that we have the God-given capacity to be perfect. In Genesis 1: 27 we read that we have been created in the image of God so it goes without saying that if we believe Jesus’ words that God is perfect, and we have been created in His image, then it’s not unreasonable for Jesus to tell us to be perfect.
However, the truth of the matter is, we have the gift of free will which allows us to make choices about how we behave and all too frequently we choose to behave in a sinful manner. For this reason, Lent gives us the wonderful opportunity to take time out to repent of our sinful ways and to be renewed so that by the boundless grace of God we can be perfect just as He commands us to be. God has given us the Ten Commandments which cover every facet of human living. In Deuteronomy 26: 16 we read that God once again reiterates that we are to keep His commandments, but when we break one of these commandments we are able to confess our sins, receive His forgiveness and be renewed in our resolve to be perfect.
The Ten Commandments are fulfilled in Jesus’ Great Commandment: “You shall love…God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength….You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” (Mark 12:30-31). Commit the Great Commandment to memory.
Father, You gave us the Commandments so we can live a life pleasing to you and to guide us in our daily dealings with one another. You have given us the capacity to be perfect but all too often we slip into the way of sin. During this Lenten season help me in my decision to journey from repentance to renewal in every aspect of my life. Amen.