Categories: HomiliesPublished On: February 19th, 2023Tags: , 822 words24.9 min read
Holy and Perfect

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels


Here are links to our readings for the day:

Holy and Perfect

We are to be holy as God is holy. And we are to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. I have often wondered, how am I to be holy as God is holy. God is all holy. I make too many mistakes and sometimes do not feel holy. And when I do not feel holy, I know I am certainly not perfect. It is as if my humanness becomes too overwhelming and I wonder how will I ever get to heaven. God directs us to be holy and perfect because He wants us to keep trying. We may tend to sin, but He is willing to forgive our sins and then directs us to try again to be holy and perfect.

Through today’s readings God does give us some instructions to follow. In Leviticus, we are told to not bear any hatred toward our brother or sister. That teaching is difficult. I am not always pleased with my brother or sister. It does not matter what I think. God’s teaching is direct. We are to love our neighbor as yourself. In the psalm, God teaches us that He is merciful and gracious. We are to be the same. We should be slow to anger and rich in kindness. If we do what God asks us to do, we then grow to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.

So now knowing what we must do it is still difficult to know what to do. Walking the extra mile and turning the other cheek are not normal things we do. In Jesus culture, walking the extra mile was when a Roman soldier told you to carry his gear. You had to obey. Or if someone strikes you, turn your face so they can strike your other cheek. These are things foreign to us. How do we apply this to today’s culture? Let’s look at something that happens to us today.

Have you ever noticed that we spend a lot of time standing in line? There are lines at the market, lines at the hospitals, lines at restaurants and coffee shops, lines at schools. Most of the time people are accepting of standing in line. We do not like it, but we have a sense of fairness that tells us to be respectful of other people and take our turn. Sometimes some people do not wait for their turn but will break into the line, displacing someone unfairly. We all think this is very rude behavior. Would you say something to the person breaking into the line unfairly?

Remember, Jesus says to turn the other cheek. Does He want us to accept rude behavior? I was standing in line with a friend. We had been in line for a long time when someone broke into the line, almost knocking my friend over. I thought for a moment he would get angry and say something bad. He did not say something bad, but it was a little sarcastic.

Even though the person almost knocked my friend to the floor, he said, “I am sorry. I didn’t mean to bump into you.” I watched the other person. At first, they looked at my friend in shock. Then something happened where this person seemed to relax. And this person took a deep breath and said, “Oh, you are so kind and considerate. There are not many people in this world as kind as you are.”

As I listened to what was being said I was becoming confused. The person breaking into the line was very rude. My friend said something sarcastic. I thought there was going to be a fight. But the rude person is now saying something very kind and very gracious. My friend just looked at this person and did not know what to say.

As I thought about this, the rude person responded with love. And because they responded with love there was no possibility of an argument. Love always overcomes anger and hatred. I think the rude person had a change of heart because of the words my friend used. Even though he said them rather sarcastically, the rude person heard kindness and love and responded in kindness and love.

Wouldn’t it be great that whenever someone hurts us or mistreats us, we respond with love and kindness? That’s what Jesus means when he says turn the other cheek or walk the extra mile. And every day there are multiple times where we can be that person offering love, loving our neighbor even in difficult situations. Today, when you feel someone is mistreating you, stop, and think, how can I respond with love?

May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen