Meditation for the 5th Sunday of Lent


First Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 51:3-4, 12-13, 14-15
Second Reading: Hebrews 5:7-9
Gospel: John 12:20-33

A very interesting question arises from the Epistle reading for today:  How is it that the perfect Son of God "was made perfect"?  Doesn’t this imply that Jesus was not perfect yet?  Isn’t Jesus, as God, already supposed to be perfect?  Does all this mean that Jesus was not God?

Before we go down the road to heresy (specifically Arianism), we need to determine what the meaning of "perfect" is in this case.  (I know it sounds too much like "that depends on what your definition of ‘is’ is", but hear me out.)  Being "made perfect" in this sense does not refer to the sinless nature of Jesus.  Rather it is meant in the same sense that God told the Israelites to "be ye holy as I, the LORD your God, am holy."  God is not asking the Israelites to be sinless – they’d already sinned, and would in all likelihood stumble again.  Instead, God was asking them to do His perfect will.  This is where perfection comes from.  Naturally, part of God’s will is not to sin, but this is only part of it – the other part is to do good and to do it completely.  So this begs the question: what is good?

God’s will can be likened to an architect’s blueprints.  God has a plan, and we are the carpenters building up the House of God, His Church.  (Ever wonder why Jesus’ occupation was carpenter?)  We, as members of the Church, are part of that house. So this makes us both carpenter and house in God’s blueprints.

Now, a house is not perfect until it is completed.  Sure, it may have a perfectly poured foundation, and the framework is built with the finest materials.  The wiring may be flawless and the roof absolutely leak-proof.  But until it is all put together and every last detail fulfilled, it is not perfect.  This is how Jesus was made perfect – he completely fulfilled every detail of the purpose that God brought him to in "this hour".

What does that mean for us who are not the perfect Son of God?  We may not start out perfect, but not every perfect house does either.  A perfect house, on the other hand, may have had many problems during construction, and maybe even several stops and starts along the way.  In fact sometimes, things have to be thrown out and started all over again.  This is okay, because becoming perfect in God’s will does not necessarily mean never failing or falling (even Christ fell 3 times on the Way of the Cross).  Becoming perfect is a process – sometimes a painful one – of conforming and fitting every detail so that it all comes together in the end to be God’s will.  An imperfect start can still yield a perfect house, and the perfect house is not just a glory to itself and its owners, but it also glorifies the architect and all who made it happen.

Glorify God’s name by being perfect.  Be perfect by doing His will.  Do His will by first seeking what God’s will is for you by process of discernment.  Only when you know the vocation God is calling you to can you know what type of house God designed you to be.

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