“So be perfect, just as your Heavenly Father is perfect.”
This verse from Matthew 5:48 was very resounding to me as I was reading and going through the book, “Set Apart.” Before, I was asking myself the questions: ‘Is it possible for us to be perfect like God, given that we are imperfect as humans?’ ‘Can we be compared to God?’ ‘Is there a certain standard or steps for us to follow so that we can be like God?’ A priest once answered these questions, and he said that this verse should be seen in the context of loving. Yes, we have to be perfect just as our Father is perfect. Our love must be perfect. Our love must be sincere. Our love, to be perfect, should be unconditional.
This book discusses a lot of things about being radical in loving. It started with the fact that all of us are called to be holy, to be set apart.
The Lord loves us that He blesses us with our lives, our emotions, the people that we encounter, our experiences, the situation we are in, and our relationship with Him. Given all these, we are reminded that we have the responsibility of choosing how to answer the call radically even if the world dictates us otherwise. This means that we are also to embrace the cross of Christ as we tread our way to heaven.
We are humans, and it is unimaginable to desire living how Jesus lived. He was mocked. He experienced a lot of pain. He got tired. He had to stand up for what is right. He wept. But He still endured to the very end that He brought salvation to reality.
This book is challenging me to personalize everything that God is teaching me daily. Yes, He’s letting me experience a lot of things. That’s why reflecting on the book made me ponder on these questions: ‘What am I getting out of these realities?’ ‘Am I seeking God in my daily life?’ ‘As I live, what should be the posture of my heart?’ ‘Am I growing closer to God with what I am thinking and doing?’ ‘Are my emotions leading me to act the way that God wants me to act?’ ‘Is this how God wants me to love?’ ‘Is God at the center of all these?’ ‘Is God’s work evident in my life?’
I realized that despite the negativities that we are facing, we can only be set apart if we let God be God in our lives by clinging to hope and His promises. We can only be set apart if we recognize God’s call in our lives, to not conform to the world’s standards. We can only be set apart by tapping onto His peace and grace while having an intimate and constant communication with Him through prayer and the Scriptures. We can only be set apart if we are patient and grateful for everything that we have and all that we encounter. We can only be set apart only if we know when and how to say sorry, and accept God’s mercy and forgiveness. We can only be set apart if we are generous enough to humbly share everything that we know and all that we have. We can only be set apart if we remain faithful and remember that we cannot box and perceive God’s plan and greatness in our lives.
Ultimately, God wants us to receive His offer of salvation, and to be one with Him. But as Catholics, we answer and respond that now is the time to let God take over our lives so that we may experience Heaven here on Earth while offering ourselves while striving to live a life of holiness.
Jovel Autor is a Full Time Pastoral Worker of Missionary Families of Christ. She is currently the Youth Coordinator of MFC Youth – LCSC and is the Zone Youth Coordinator of Visayas.