There can be no tougher challenge than the one given by Jesus to us in our gospel this weekend; “Be perfect as my father in heaven is perfect.” In the verses before Jesus makes this challenge, He gives a blueprint as to how we might begin to take up this difficult but worthy task. He asks us to move beyond the demands of simple justice, into the world of grace. Grace asks us to not offer what the other deserves, but to offer more. We may do this only after being transformed ourselves by the beauty, and freely offered, power of God’s grace. Our openness to God’s grace comes when we wake up to the truth that we have surely received more from Him than we ourselves deserve. Yes, despite our weaknesses, God loves us beyond our wildest imaginings.
The method Jesus suggests to transform our enemies is to so overwhelm with love – as to win them over. This ‘other way’, this ‘charter’ of Jesus that so inspired the Saints, is offered to you and me. It is a challenge taken up by some of the great figures of recent history: Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa and Nelson Mandela. In moving beyond the demands of simple justice into the supernatural world of grace, each of these outstanding figures made a deep impact on the world.
The challenge for each one of us on this our Vision Sunday is to become a ‘Missionary Disciple’ to be ourselves both recipients, and agents, of Gods grace. Can we walk this path ? That’s our prayer at mass today.
I put all these thoughts before you as we begin this coming week – the great season of grace – Lent