We live in an imperfect world

By: Fr. Roy Cimagala

THIS should be no surprise to us, no breaking news. We just have to acknowledge this very obvious fact and avoid falling into two extremes. One is that of perfectionism, when we think everything will just be rigidly perfect, and anything that stains and distorts it should be rejected at all costs. The other is complete laxity, when we think that just about anything should be ok with us.

Yes, we are in an imperfect world, but a world that is always in the process of perfecting itself through the interplay of God’s grace and our effort and correspondence to that grace. We are in a world in the making, a work in progress, aiming at becoming “a new heaven and a new earth.” (cfr. Jn 21,1)

Besides, what makes our world more imperfect is that we all have fallen into sin which would make our correspondence to God’s grace more complicated. Given this reality, we just have to learn to help one another to cope properly with this condition.

Things depend both on God and on us, with God always taking the initiative and bent on completing what he started. Ours is simply to play along with God’s will and ways, but knowingly and freely and lovingly, as befit our dignity as God’s image and likeness, as children of his. Our part, of course, is no laughing matter. It requires everything that we have got.

In this regard, we have to see to it that while we should try our best to know what is right and wrong as defined by God our Creator, and live our life according to that law, we should not ignore the fact that evil will always be around, harassing us, and we just have to learn how to live with that.

Yes, we should try always to be clean, even squeaky clean as much as possible, but let’s not forget that one way or another, sooner or later, we somehow get dirty. So we just have to learn to clean ourselves again as soon as possible, and move on without much delay.

That we should not be overly rigid in our desire to be perfect is somehow illustrated in that parable of the unjust or shrewd steward. (cfr Lk 16,1-13) The steward was about to be fired by his master because he was reported to be squandering his master’s goods.

Since he was not too strong to dig and was ashamed to beg, what he did to secure his future was to curry favor with his master’s debtors who hopefully would return the favour once he got out of a job.

The master apparently knew about this but just the same he commended the steward for acting with shrewdness. And Christ, deriving the lesson from that parable, said that while what the steward did was wrong, he did right in being shrewd.

Christ was clear about not serving two masters, God and mammon. But he also said, “make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon, that when you fail, they may receive you into an everlasting home.” (Lk 16,9)

What the parable tries to tell us is that we should just do what we can to survive, even if it is wrong. When we would be cornered already with no other possibility for survival, we can play shrewd. We should just make up later for whatever wrongdoing we may be pressured to do.

It’s like saying that in this world, we cannot help but be dirty, what with all the evil elements and powerful structures of sin around. We should just bear with it and try to clean ourselves as soon as the chance comes along.

Of course, if the choice between good and evil takes place at our final moment, there is no doubt that we should just learn to suffer the inconveniences of good over the perks of evil.

Email: roycimagala@gmail.com