Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
TO BE PERFECT AS THE HEAVENLY FATHER IS
Matt 5: 38 – 48 (Fifteen Day’s Lent begins)
Lenten season is set apart for spiritual evaluation, repentance and renewal. The Fifteen days lent, to commemorate the life and mission of St. Mary, starts today. Being a role model for the women flock of all
generations she remains unique for her submission to God’s will and saintliness. Hence the compliment by Elizabeth, “Blessed are you among women” (Luke 1: 42).
Lent is a time to reset our priorities – to choose between God’s way of truth, love and justice and the world’s way of brutal power, pleasure and prestige. It is a time challenging us to reorient our lives in tune with the culture of the Cross. Today’s text highlights on practical Christian life.
Heavenly Father, the role model
The role model of each Christian must be the Heavenly Father, who is perfect. The supreme nature of the Heavenly Father is Agape, self giving love seen on the Cross. St. Paul has vividly portrayed this love in 1 Cor: 13. Love is patient, kind. It does not envy, boast, proud, dishonor others, self seek, easily anger, keep no record of wrongs, delight in evil. It always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres and never fails.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount provides an outstanding new ethics for us. Since it is beyond the standard of the world, it could be understood only from a Kingdom of God perspective. That’s why Jesus quotes the ethics of the day and then exhorts, “But I tell you...” Without having the mind of Jesus this new ethics can not be practiced.
Non resentment and non retaliation
Jesus wants us to change our enemies into friends through love and forgiveness. In his autobiography Long walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa, describes his prison time on Robben Island and Pollsmoor prison. His 28 year tenure in prison was marked by the cruelty of Afrikaner guards, backbreaking labor and sleeping in minuscule cells which were nearly uninhabitable. About his freedom day he says, “As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred, I’d still be in prison”. It is this commendable attitude of nobility that made him a world citizen of this century. Abraham Lincoln’s comment is also insightful in this regard, “I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends”.
Prayer: Lord, teach me to love. Tear from my heart all hate, foolish pride; Help me to live like Christ the crucified. Amen.
Rev. Zachariah John, Houston