[“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”] (Mt. 5:48)
Does Jesus know He is asking the impossible of His disciples and of us? Yes, He knows it is actually impossible for us and not just figuratively. There is no way you and I can be perfect just as God is because, well, we are fallen human beings. Fallen from what? We have fallen from His grace by original sin and our personal sin. The way then to become perfect, the way to become a saint, is through His grace.
When we think about it, a saint is 1.) a sinful human being, 2.) who is reconciled to God—made perfect, 3.) by God’s free gift of grace. The good news is we all meet 2/3 qualifications—1.) we are sinful human beings and 3.) God offers us His free gift of grace. It’s 2.) which is the tough one. If we are to become perfect as God is perfect, we must respond to God’s grace. We must cooperate with Him.
How? Immediately we think of prayer, fasting, and works of charity—imitating Jesus. However we mustn’t forget that “Jesus was made perfect through suffering” as the author of the Book of Hebrews tells us (cf. Heb. 2:10). This was possible by a total reliance on God’s grace. “Ater withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done” (Lk. 22:41-42).
If we are to be perfect we need not to strive to achieve it on our own, but rather cooperate with God’s grace to act rightly. We must also recognize that we need to rely totally on God, especially in our sufferings allowing His grace to perfect us as it did Jesus. In this way we can become saints.
What sufferings in your life are too much for you to handle? What pains are eating you up?—thought of your own sin, damaged/ broken relationships with family members, difficulties at work, sickness, stress of life, etc?
If you’re bearing your pain by yourself, don’t? Reach out to friends and family for help, and most of all reach out to your heavenly Father . Jesus is asking the possible of you. He gives you the grace “to become perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”