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Home » Daily Gospel, Daily Readings, Prophets

Be Perfect As Your Heavenly Father is Perfect (Mt. 5:43-48)

Submitted by on Tuesday, 15 June 2010No Comment

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  • Reading I: 1 Kings 21:17-29
  • Responsorial Psalm : Psalm 51
  • Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:43-48

1 Kings 21:17-29 is the second part of the Naboth incident. Here, Elijah is sent to confront Ahab of his sin and to declare to him the punishment. Ahab repents and shows his repentance in concrete acts. God, who desires not the death of anyone (see Ezekiel 18:23-28), accepts Ahab’s repentance and postpones the punishment after king’s death.

The theme of repentance is continued in the responsorial psalm which is taken from Psalm 51, the Miserere. The sincerity of Ahab’s repentance is envisioned here, but also the God who calls Himself merciful and gracious (Exodus 34:6). This brings us to today’s gospel reading …

The command "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" is re-statement by Jesus of the command "Be holy as I am holy". In Leviticus 11:44, the command to be holy as God is holy underlines the importance of ritual cleanliness in matters of food. This is underlined in the following verse where God reiterates the command to be holy "because I am holy". In Leviticus 19:2 and 20:7, the command is a preface to other commandments that pertain to holiness of conduct. In both these occurences, the separatedness of Israel from other peoples is underlined: God is holy, He is unlike other gods and so must the people that belongs to Him. This idea is stressed in 1 Peter 1:14-16 where the author exhorts converts from paganism "not to act in compliance to your former ignorance"(14) nor "according to the conduct handed down to you by your forefathers" (18). The Christians have been called to the Holy God and so they are to be holy themselves in their conduct.

In Matthew 5:43-48, the command "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect" concludes the exhortation to be loving to both good and bad people, for the Father does not choose on whom to shower his benefits. God’s perfection here is due to the way He deals with both the good and the evil, the just and the unjust. And so, Christians are told to be loving even to their enemies. A love that is generously shown to all is their way to perfection. It is along this line of thinking that in Luke, the same command — "Be holy as I am holy" — is re-stated as "Be merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful (Luke 6:36)"

1 Kings 21:17-29
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
17And the word of the Lord came to Elias the Thesbite, saying:
18Arise, and go down to meet Achab king of Israel, who is in Samaria: behold he is going down to the vineyard of Naboth, to take possession of it:
19And thou shalt speak to him, saying: Thus saith the Lord: Thou hast slain, moreover also thou hast taken possession. And after these words thou shalt add: Thus saith the Lord: In this place, wherein the dogs have licked the blood of Naboth, they shall lick thy blood also.
20And Achab said to Elias: Hast thou found me thy enemy? He said: I have found thee, because thou art sold, to do evil in the sight of the Lord.
21Behold I will bring evil upon thee, and I will cut down thy posterity, and I will kill of Achab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up, and the last in Israel.
22And I will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nabat, and like the house of Baasa the son of Ahias: for what thou hast done, to provoke me to anger, and for making Israel to sin.
23And of Jezabel also the Lord spoke, saying: The dogs shall eat Jezabel in the field of Jezrahel.
24If Achab die in the city, the dogs shall eat him: but if he die in the field, the birds of the air shall eat him.
25Now there was not such another as Achab, who was sold to do evil in the sight of the Lord: for his wife Jezabel set him on,
26And he became abominable, insomuch that he followed the idols which the Amorrhites had made, whom the Lord destroyed before the face of the children of Israel.
27And when Achab had heard these words, he rent his garments, and put haircloth upon his flesh, and fasted and slept in sackcloth, and walked with his head cast down.
28And the word of the Lord came to Elias the Thesbite, saying:
29Hast thou not seen Achab humbled before me? therefore, because he hath humbled himself for my sake, I will not bring the evil in his days, but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.
Matthew 5:43-48
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
43You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thy enemy.
44But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you:
45That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust.
46For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans this?
47And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? do not also the heathens this?
48Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.
1 Kings 21:17-29
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
17And the word of the Lord came to Elias the Thesbite, saying:
18Arise, and go down to meet Achab king of Israel, who is in Samaria: behold he is going down to the vineyard of Naboth, to take possession of it:
19And thou shalt speak to him, saying: Thus saith the Lord: Thou hast slain, moreover also thou hast taken possession. And after these words thou shalt add: Thus saith the Lord: In this place, wherein the dogs have licked the blood of Naboth, they shall lick thy blood also.
20And Achab said to Elias: Hast thou found me thy enemy? He said: I have found thee, because thou art sold, to do evil in the sight of the Lord.
21Behold I will bring evil upon thee, and I will cut down thy posterity, and I will kill of Achab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up, and the last in Israel.
22And I will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nabat, and like the house of Baasa the son of Ahias: for what thou hast done, to provoke me to anger, and for making Israel to sin.
23And of Jezabel also the Lord spoke, saying: The dogs shall eat Jezabel in the field of Jezrahel.
24If Achab die in the city, the dogs shall eat him: but if he die in the field, the birds of the air shall eat him.
25Now there was not such another as Achab, who was sold to do evil in the sight of the Lord: for his wife Jezabel set him on,
26And he became abominable, insomuch that he followed the idols which the Amorrhites had made, whom the Lord destroyed before the face of the children of Israel.
27And when Achab had heard these words, he rent his garments, and put haircloth upon his flesh, and fasted and slept in sackcloth, and walked with his head cast down.
28And the word of the Lord came to Elias the Thesbite, saying:
29Hast thou not seen Achab humbled before me? therefore, because he hath humbled himself for my sake, I will not bring the evil in his days, but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.
Ezekiel 18:23-28
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
23Is it my will that a sinner should die, saith the Lord God, and not that he should be converted from his ways, and live?
24But if the just man turn himself away from his justice, and do iniquity according to all the abominations which the wicked man useth to work, shall he live? all his justices which he hath done, shall not be remembered: in the prevarication, by which he hath prevaricated, and in his sin, which he hath committed, in them he shall die.
25And you have said: The way of the Lord is not right. Hear ye, therefore, O house of Israel: Is it my way that is not right, and are not rather your ways perverse?
26For when the just turneth himself away from his justice, and committeth iniquity, he shall die therein: in the injustice that he hath wrought he shall die.
27And when the wicked turneth himself away from his wickedness, which he hath wrought, and doeth judgment, and justice: he shall save his soul alive.
28Because he considereth and turneth away himself from all his iniquities which he hath wrought, he shall surely live, and not die.
Exodus 34:6
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
6And when he passed before him, he said: O the Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, patient and of much compassion, and true,
Leviticus 11:44
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
44For I am the Lord your God: be holy because I am holy. Defile not your souls by any creeping thing, that moveth upon the earth.
Leviticus 19:2
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
2Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and thou shalt say to them: Be ye holy, because I the Lord your God am holy.
1 Peter 1:14-16
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
14As children of obedience, not fashioned according to the former desires of your ignorance:
15But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation holy:
16Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy.
Matthew 5:43-48
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
43You have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thy enemy.
44But I say to you, Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you:
45That you may be the children of your Father who is in heaven, who maketh his sun to rise upon the good, and bad, and raineth upon the just and the unjust.
46For if you love them that love you, what reward shall you have? do not even the publicans this?
47And if you salute your brethren only, what do you more? do not also the heathens this?
48Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.
Luke 6:36
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
36Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

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