Being Perfect



Gate Pa – Year A  7th Sunday of Ordinary Time,
Readings:
Psalm                          Psalm: 119: 33-40
First Reading:             Lev 19:1-2, 9-18                     
Second Reading:        1 Cor 3:10-11, 16-23  
Gospel:                        Matt 5:38-48  

What I want to say:
I want to explore vs 48 “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” – what does it mean to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect? This is not about being flawless but about living the Sermon on the Mount
What I want to happen:
This provides our agenda for Lent

The Sermon

      1.     Introduction:

Hands up if you would describe yourself as perfect?
Hands up if you aspire to be perfect?
If you don’t – what do you do with the last verse we just heard in gospel
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
Talk neighbour for moment
            How is God perfect?
How are you perfect?
What questions do you have about this reading?
(plenary)
*    What questions do you have about this reading?

      2.     Being perfect

Ask - When you hear word perfect what comes to mind?
I think often see it meaning
conforming absolutely to the description or definition of an ideal type:
entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings: ”
That is one meaning
-         But not only one
In English it can also mean “to bring to completion; finish.”
Origins in latin mean - Latin perfectus, past participle of perficere to finish, bring to completion
Eg – perfect tense in English grammar – not mean there are no mistakes
            Past completed – I have washed the car
                        I have finished preaching the sermon
In Greek – word we translate into “perfect” - telos
Not mean entirely without any flaws, defects, or shortcomings 
More commonly means
Complete, mature, grown up, ripe.
So Jesus is not saying be flawless
But be complete, mature, ripe.

       3.     So what does God’s perfection look like?

Ask for answers from discussion
Suggest that God’s perfection, completeness, is found in what Jesus has been saying up to this point and for the rest of the Sermon on the Mount.
That this is the point of what Jesus is talking about
We began radical Beatitudes
Radical because they redefine which people have greatest honour in their society
Which ones being blessed by God
“Honoured, revered, blessed are the poor in spirit
those who mourn,
the meek,    
those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,      
the pure in heart,
the peacemakers,
those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
you when people revile you and persecute you
why are they honoured, revered, blessed?
They are perfect
 mature, complete, grown up, ripe
we become salt that fires up fires of God’s justice
and God revealing light

       4.     Last week and this week

Jesus gone on talk about attitude to Law of Moses and traditions built up around that
Saying - When we see law set commands to be obeyed
è When we do we are perfect (without flaw)
è then we are in trouble
but if willing to get behind commands to intent and attitudes
then on road to perfection
for example – not enough to not murder
            have to not angry, contemptuous, hateful
            today goes further – not enough not to hate your enemies
                        you are to love them
                        as your father in heaven loves all people
takes us back to be Beatitudes   

       5.     Conclusion

Rob Bell and Don Golden talking about
            describe key characteristics of God (God’s perfection)
as compassion, mercy, justice and love
            suggest God wants people who will enflesh compassion, mercy, justice and love
when we do this
we are perfect
Near Lent
Invite you to spend this Lent reflecting on how you are perfect
What might need to embrace your perfection
            With all your faults.

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”         
Message offers this paraphrase
Jesus said – “In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.


           

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