Working with the Word

Focusing the Gospel 

Key words and phrases:   You have heard … But I say to you, sun rise, rain, just and unjust, be perfect … as your heavenly Father

To the point:  In this gospel, Jesus challenges us to go beyond our expected responses to human interactions. But, challenging as they are, his examples of this “beyond” are nonetheless still finite human actions and limited love. Jesus’ examples are shocking—but not nearly so shocking as what he really expects of us: “be perfect” as our “heavenly Father,” who gives Life (“sun rise” and “rain”) to “the just and the unjust” alike. Infinite actions. Limitless love. What a challenge!

Connecting the Gospel …

… to the First Reading:  The first reading is a selection from the holiness code of the book of Leviticus. When this book teaches we are to “Be holy” as God is holy, it is saying the same thing as Jesus who challenges us in the gospel to “be perfect” as our “heavenly Father.” God’s holiness is God’s perfection.

… to experience: We encounter God’s holiness or perfection in the traces of God’s glory all around us. For example, the glory of a sunrise or the refresh-ment of a rainfall, or the radiant smile of an innocent child or the limitless love of a selfless caregiver.


**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson