“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Back to the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus famously tells His disciples to love their enemies and pray for their persecutors (Mt 5:43-48).  Loving only those who love you and greeting only those with whom you are close exhibits behavior no different from sinners and unbelievers.  Jesus closes with the words above.  A tall order, no?  Yet perfection is what is required to get to heaven.  If we die in the state of grace, we are assured eternal beatitude.  But nothing unclean gets to be with the Lord God.  In whatever way we fall short in our earthly lives, again assuming that we are not in mortal sin at death, we must expiate that remaining stain in purgatory.  If Jesus calls us to be perfect here and now, this is what we are to strive for.  “I’m only human” is not an excuse; we have the grace of baptism and the ongoing help of the sacraments available to us.  “I’m basically a good person,” while holding on to comfortable vices and “small” sins, will not cut it.  Jesus did not die for mortal sins alone, but for all sin.  This is a deadly serious business — just look at a crucifix.  And look at how many times Jesus refers to hell — it exists and one can decide to go there.  Sin is abhorrent to God.  And He knows (and we know, if we are honest) that letting “little” sins slide disposes us to justify and fall into more egregious — and even deadly — error.  Resist temptation and flee from sin into the arms of Jesus with recourse for intercession in difficulty to His Blessed Mother.

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