14 June, Tuesday – Achieving Perfection

Tuesday of Week 11 in Ordinary Time

1 Kgs 21:17-29
Mt 5:43-48

Therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.

At first glance, it is mind-boggling that St Matthew would exhort for us to be just as perfect as our heavenly Father. Surely this can’t be possible. For there is no mortal being that can come close to the perfection of our heavenly Father. But the perfection that St Matthew asks for is not the kind of perfection that we think. All he is requesting is that we love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Or, in the words of our beloved Archbishop, “Bless those who curse you.” That is how we break a curse – by sending back a blessing.

That is precisely what Jesus did as he hung on the cross. He asked for a blessing from his Father on those who tormented and tortured him. Truly mind-boggling isn’t it? But as I have shared before, in having the grace (which only comes from God) to turn the other cheek when someone hits me (not literally, of course), I know that God is working in me. For it is only natural to retaliate with ‘an equal and appropriate response’ whenever we feel that we have been wronged.

Over the past few months, I have been pulled this way and that with work and ministry commitments. But as God would have it, each time I have committed to serving in His vineyard (and I have been very careful not to disappoint after saying ‘Yes’), He has somehow made the way smooth for me and every act of service has been as ‘perfect’ as I could expect. I have learnt to not worry about the ‘how’ (I will get something done), but focus on the ‘who’, especially those others who are part of the endeavour. One could say that I am being overly ‘calculative’ in my approach to service (which is one perspective), but I find that my ‘giving’ has become a lot more joyful, free and I am not filled with worry or anxiety. And brothers and sisters, it has given me a countenance that accepts and embraces whatever comes my way, from anyone I have been blessed to encounter.

Brothers and sisters, the route to perfection is not as easy as it may seem. But what is beyond human comprehension is not beyond God. So we need to trust that He continually looks to us to be his perfect sons and daughters – by simply loving those who are in the same boat as us.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Desmond Soon)

Prayer: Father, we pray for a generous outpouring of your graces so that we can in turn bless those who you bless us to encounter in our service.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for all those who have hurt us in one way or another and thank them for being a part of our lives.

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