Posts

Be Perfect

Today the gospel ends with a strong, and seemingly impossible charge from Jesus, “ Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” How on earth are we realistically suppose to be perfect just like the loving, all good, all knowing all glorious God in heaven? 
The word ‘perfect’came from the Latin ‘perfectus’ which translates properly to ‘completeness’ or ‘accomplished’. Thus nothing is or can be perfect until the end; that is, until it has been properly completed. Think of when you have finished a painting, practiced a song on an instrument or have trained to do a trick in some sport. You only say perfect when it has been completed, when there are no more changes that need to be done.Which means there is a necessary journey to reach the perfect. A journey that is filled with failures and good performances, with messiness, struggle and accomplishments. A journey that necessarily is filled with determination and dedication to reaching that perfect end.
This is where the key t…

Love Alive

In Todays Gospel we hear Jesus listing the laws that Judaism prescribes to and shines a new light on them. For our Jewish brothers and sisters, the law they follow is rooted within the Torah. The word ‘Torah’ comes from the Hebrew verb ‘instruction’ and thus describes the instructions of the first couple books of the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures. The Torah is the book of instruction which reveals God’s will for them; it is a gift of the basic guidelines of life. Jesus today fleshes these laws out, and expands them beyond their surface level reading. He brings this new depth and how they are especially fulfilled in this new kingdom he sought to bring about.

Every single one of these fleshed out instructions deals with, above all, the love in our day to day relationships. They call for the loving of others in a dramatic, dignified, practical and holy way. The instructions are filled with a meaning that respects the humanity, dignity and temple that each and every person is. Th…

SALT

Salt
Every once and a while especially during midterm and final season, I often get a craving for those delicious and perfectly salty McDonalds French fries. They are just too perfect not to cave into the temptation to order an extra large and devour. They are so perfectly unique, and just perfectly salty that it leaves you wishing that the cardboard container was eternally bottomless.
In todays Gospel we hear that familiar teaching from the sermon on the mount where Jesus calls us to be salt and light for the world.Some of the parables that Jesus uses can often be foreign to us, as we are not familiar with the particular societal significance behind the symbols he uses. But today the symbolism and themes are clear: salt and light. They are both essential, and especially within the culture Jesus lived in. Salt was even more essential to preserve foods, and light was defined by the oil lamps as there was no electricity.
A couple weekends ago we heard that it was Jesus who is the light o…

I Introduce to you, Jesus!

Today we celebrate the feast of the Presentation of the Lord. It has now been forty days since Christmas and by Jewish law it is time for Jesus to be brought to the temple for purification. At this time too, Mary and Joseph make a sacrifice and get a blessing from the prophets in the temple.  Interestingly, we hear of Anna, one of the few woman mentioned in the New Testament, being called a prophetess, the only woman in the New Testament who is designated as such. She stayed in the temple, constantly in prayer and fasting and praising God. Thus, People would have known who she was. She would have been recognized as that pious woman living in the temple. Upon seeing Jesus and his parents Anna  began to praise God and  “speak about the child to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.” In the entire history of salvation, we hear of a woman as the first person who had an encounter with Christ and who  preached Christ to the crowds. Anna, the prophetess, is truly  the first d…

The Call of the Lord

On this weekend a number of years ago, I was at morning mass and during the homily someone’s phone started to ring. The man frantically searched for his phone, searching his coat to finally turn it off.  When he finally did, the priest turned toward him and said, “You better hope that wasn’t God calling you, or else you are going to have one angry voicemail!”
In todays Gospel Jesus calls four of his twelve disciples.We here in Matthews account today, of Jesus approaching them while they work away, living their ordinary lives. Although familiar to us, it would have been rather peculiar to a Jewish person who would have read this Gospel, or to the Jews themselves.In the Jewish tradition disciples sought out a teacher, but today the teacher searches for his disciples. Jesus finds these fishermenand called them to a radical new life where they will become fishers of people. These fishermen, attracted by the invitation,drop everything and immediately follow him.
This is the nature of Chris…