SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

February 19, 2017

Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18

 

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.

You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

 

Psalm 103:1-4, 8, 10, 12-13

 

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    

and all that is within me,
    

bless his holy name.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    

and do not forget all his benefits—

who forgives all your iniquity,
    

who heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the Pit,
    

who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,

The Lord is merciful and gracious,
    

slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.

He does not deal with us according to our sins,
    

nor repay us according to our iniquities.

as far as the east is from the west,
    

so far he removes our transgressions from us. 

As a father has compassion for his children,
    

so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.

 

1 Corinthians 3:16-23

 

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,

“He catches the wise in their craftiness,”

and again,

“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are futile.”

So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours,  whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.

 

Matthew 5:38-48

 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

(NRSVCE)

Meditation

 

Perfectionism is called a modern disease. The demands of a perfectionist never cease regarding performance, looks, and achievements. In our culture, the perfectionist is organized, goal oriented, demands excellence and often is encouraged by others even from a young age. We praise the perfect record, solo, meal, vacation, holiday, anything…We can become caught up in perfectionism when we feel we can or must attain a high level of accomplishment and also, when we get our self-worth from our accomplishments. It is actually a negative outlook on life. Perfectionists fear failure, are vulnerable to procrastination, compare constantly to the negative, feel distress and shame for failing to meet any of their high standards and feel they even have to earn love.

 

So today we read that God wants us to be perfect and thankfully, if we take a good look at what perfect is in God’s eyes, we can be healed of the counterfeit perfectionism.

 

God is not the taskmaster that perfectionism is. He wants us to be holy. But when we fail, He does not punish us for our sins but wants us to come into the light and bring them to Him to be reconciled and healed. God is a father who loves his children and has compassion on them. He desires to save them even from the brink of destruction. He does not tell his children that they are not good enough. He forgives them, suffers with them and blesses them. This is how He is perfect.

 

If we want to be perfect, we imitate God by being kind, understanding, and not condemning toward our brothers and sisters. We can rebuke and correct each other, and we should do those things when someone sins against us, but we are not allowed to bear a grudge against them.

 

The perfection God wants frees us to become holy and to believe in the power of His unfailing love.

 

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I desire to be perfect as You are perfect. Help me to believe that kindness and compassion are more important than anything I can do that makes me feel superior or accomplished. All glory goes to You and in You alone I have my life and breath. May I remain humble owing everything to Your grace and mercy. Amen

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