Today's Gospel: Matthew 5:43-48

Tall orders in today’s Gospel. And a huge reminder that God is not only interested in our relationship with him but with all those around us. I speak to teens often about what it takes to follow Jesu,s and honestly tell them that if I were judged by my relationship with God, that vertical one that is just me and Him, I’d do pretty well. Not perfect, but not awful. Loving God, praying, praising Him, thanking Him; even offering up my day to Him and His plan I am willing, even joyful to do it.

But then comes those people: you know, people who don’t do what you want or think is right or have a different opinion, who irritate me by their behavior. Do I love God enough to see Him in the other? Often the other is not too different from me, but is in my way. Selfish, maybe judgmental, sometimes grouchy, I’m not always the stellar example of how to love everyone or be perfect. Our horizontal relationship with others is just as important as the vertical one with God. Jesus on the cross reminds us of that as He looks up to His Father and holds all of us in His outstretched arms.

The good news is God knows that, and continually calls us to try our best. He wants us to be the perfect “insert your name here” that He calls and sometimes challenges us to become. Our perfection lies not in the world’s idea of perfect but in trying to be who He calls us to be.

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Who and how (very specifically) do I need to love today?


Lord, help me as I go about my day to show your love to all those in my path. Lead me to embrace your perfection.Amen.


Copyright 2017 Deanna Bartalini

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