So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) This was the theme of last Sunday’s Gospel, although it is not actually part of the Gospel until next Sunday. With the Olympics being on right now, I can’t help but think of the similarities between training for a sport and growing spiritually. After reading this Gospel, I thought specifically of the search for perfection that Olympic athletes seek and the perfection that God calls us to. It makes me think about why those athletes are so inspiring.
A parallel from physical to spiritual: How a heroic athlete symbolically typifies a holy saint Just as God gave the athletes their skills and abilities, He has also given us the gift of life and calls us to become the people He created us to be. Athletes must train, work hard and nourish their bodies. So must we train spiritually and receive nourishment through prayer and the sacraments, receiving the grace that God gives us to become perfect.
Athletes seek the help of a coach in order to become successful, and the coach will push them to become the best athlete they can be. We must also seek our true coach, Jesus Christ, who calls forth the best from us and gives us the grace we need to become who he created us to be. These athletes have struggled and worked hard for such a long time to get to the Olympics. In training, they must be very patient, realizing that strength and improvement comes with time. Additionally, they must be persistent when encountering struggles and defeat. We also encounter many struggles that we must work hard to overcome. We must be patient and persistent as well. It will take a lifetime, but with the grace of God and the willingness to be trained spiritually, may we all come to the perfection that we are all called to.