“O Jerusalem, O Jerusalem, the city that kills its prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” Matthew 23:37.
God’s message to us, so expertly caught up within the thin leaves of our Holy Bible, is not a strong herald on how to do everything right in a mundane and messy world. Morality and virtue are not the length and breadth of perfection. To be perfect as our Divine God is perfect, one is not expected to be perfect…. .at least not under the influence of its popular definition. The Hebrew prophets, those intercessors and peacemakers of old, did not risk life and limb to utter convoluted mysteries on how one might attain divinity of mind and heart by precise application of ambiguous laws - a confusing contradiction in itself.
Those nervous prophets stood before kings with messages of justice and mercy. They preached a perfection that began and ended with a deep respect for one’s neighbor - be that neighbor Divine or human. They continue to remind the readers of Holy Bibles everywhere that perfection is about honoring rights, blessing instead of cursing and forgiving debts of every shape and size. In simple terms, to be perfect is to learn how to relate to the failing flesh all around you as God Himself has chosen to relate to that same failing flesh.
And how has God related? Divine Justice took a shocking step in our direction and threw His mercy over our naked inabilities. Rather than pointing out where we might have done better so as not to incur such guilt, Justice rendered us truly and hopelessly guilty and then covered it up. In essence He said, “Yes, you are wrong but I am here to take your mockery and I will confront anyone who chooses to mock you.”
Mercy did not mock us in our miserable condition. Mercy took our mockery on Himself…. .and this is perfection.
This is the perfection that the prophets came to preach. Cover the condemned, they said, remember that you also are dust. Make peace with all those humans that are failing just like you. Take care of the flesh and blood that relies upon your mercy to retain their necessary rights… .don’t abuse them. Forgive debts for you are also a debtor. Bless when you are cursed for often they do not know what they are doing.
We are just a brood of half-feathered humans desperately in need of intercession. We need someone, all someones, to cover us when we fail and fall short. We depend upon the faithful defense of our fellow humans when we are defenseless in our shame. We need Divinity to forgive us and our brothers and sisters to say very little to us while they provide salve and clothing for the broken, bare places. Let us be perfect in this way that God is perfect. Let us all come under the influence of the Divine Heart…