Question: " In the Gospel, Matthew 19:16-22, Jesus said to the young man, "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Father Michael, are we called to be perfect?
Answer: Fr. Michael J. from Australia.
Yes, we all want to be perfect because the Lord Jesus wants us to be perfect. He even orders us: "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:8) Again, to be perfect is a divine command. That's problematic in many ways.
One: does that mean you have to be a perfectionist? No.
Two: does that mean you have to be God?!
No and YES. No, because you can't; not possible. Yes, because whether you like it or not it is a fact that we, as a human species, have since time immemorial always wanted and attempted to be God and failed miserably; remember the Garden of Eden? The Tower of Babel? And presently don't we have the AI and the so-called "American Idols"? Are we not playing God by re-defining or rather re-creating what we are as as humans? Are we not making ourselves Gods by creating a culture in which a man could "be" a woman because "he" says so?! That just opens a can of worm!
Three: God wants me to "be" God! Didn't He make Himself human in Jesus?! Jesus is God, completely God, and human, completely human. As we profess in the Apostles' Creed that Jesus is "fully God" and "fully man." In a word, God truly meant it when He orders us to be perfect like His heavenly Father. God became a man so we all could become god! That opens a second can of worms!
Ultimately the real question is what does it mean to be perfect like God? What does it means to be God? The only man who knows, really knows, is Jesus. Ask Him and He'll not only tell us but make us like Him. That is the last can of worm we'll open for today.