Some of you may remember the Olympic Games of Montreal in 1976 and a young 14 year old Romanian gymnast by the name of Nadia Comaneci. She scored the first ever perfect 10 in the history of the gymnastics com- petition. The judges were so stunned by her display, that in order to con- vey the perfect mark, they had to display it as 1.00 because the score- board was not capable of showing 10.00, as it had only been calibrated up to 9.99. At first the crowds were aghast at the derisory mark, but they quickly realised what the judges were wanting to convey as rapturous cheers and applause rang around the stadium. Perfection it seemed, was never contemplated nor expected. Yet in the gospel today, Jesus tells his listeners that “You must therefore be perfect, just as your heavenly Fa- ther is perfect.” So how is perfection achievable for the disciple?
Well we look at ourselves and we wonder. What about all the things that limit us and restrict us? What about the finite world which we inhabit with its physical barriers? Are these not inevitably going to stunt our growth? In our RCIA group last Monday, we studied The Creed, and we tried to gain some insight into what it was saying about God, only to come up against the barrier of the imperfection of our language. The thoughts we were seeking to express soon began to fall apart because of the inability of our words to properly express them. We became frustrated because we
knew that in attempting to speak about God, we were inevitably bound by the limitations of our minds. But we believe that we are created in the image and likeness of God, and so that means something. We believe that God is love and so we are created in love and it is in the image of God’s love that we try to expresses the perfection which rests within each of us. We achieve this only when we come to understand that it is in God and through his Son Jesus Christ that this love is accessed and made manifest.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus shows us all how to allow God’s love to become the perfecting principle which guides us in our lives. Turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, love those who hate you, these are all elements of God’s love which begin to break down the barriers and con- straints that the world builds up. It is only by looking to God and seeing his limitless love in the person of Jesus Christ, that we can, by following his example, break the fetters that bind us to the finite and limited world around us.
Proclaiming belief in God, as we do each week in The Creed, is a demand- ing act which takes courage and a large dollop of strength and fearless- ness in what we are saying. Qualities which I’m sure Nadia Comenici pos- sessed in her career as a gymnast. Let us pray for our RCIA group, as they continue in their training in the perfection of God’s love.