Images and Mercy: #TheFather

"God created man in the image of himself" (Gen. 1:27).

Humans are created to ressemble God. Men and women are called to and capable of, in one way or another, to be like God. This is how it was in the beginning, and this is how it was meant to be.

In reply to the question of whether or not it one should pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus asks for a coin and says: "Whose portrait is this? Whose title?" "Caesar's," they said to him. Jesus then says to them, "Pay Caesar what belongs to Ceasar - and God what belongs to God." (Mark 12:13-17). We can then make a further reflection: What is it that belongs to God? Following Jesus line of thought, it would be what is marked by God's image and God's name: the human person.

When God cooses a peple for himself, he calls them to be like him: "Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy" (Lev. 19:2; cf. 11:45). We find the same call on Jesus' lips in the Gospel of Matthew, in the Sermon on the Mount: "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Matt. 5:48).

The word "perfect" can also be translated "wholehearted", which gives a slightly different sound to the passage than "perfect" does. Luke has his own twist on the saying: "Be compassionate just as your Father is compassionate" (Luke 6:36). This complements and perhaps deepens our understanding of what the perfection of Matthew's text means, especially if we consider the fact that it is the conclusion of the following exhortation:
You have heard that it was said: "You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy." But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you salute only your brethren, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? (Matt. 5:43-47, cf. Luke 6:27-35)
God's perfection is revealed as perfect, unconditional love, which gives wholeheartedly, without reserve, to each and every one whitout distinction - indeed, as mercy.

Jesus could tell his friends just before he died: "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). All his words and deeds pointed to the Father who sent him, and made present the Father's power and life. All his communications were marked #TheFather.

Jesus was "in the form of God, [and] did not count equality with God as something to be grasped. But he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, becoming as human beings are" (Phil. 2:6-7). In Colossians, Jesus is called not only"the image of the unseen God", but also "the first-born of all creation" (Col. 1:15). We are to be formed after his image: "He decided beforehand who were the ones destined to be moulded to the pattern of his Son, so that he should be the eldest of many brothers" (Rom. 8:29).

Are all my words and deeds, my way of being, all images I project of myself to the world around me, all I communicate... marked #JesusChrist, and thus #TheFather? Am I willing to give my entire person to God and let the Spirit mould me after the pattern of Christ, not through a superficial photoshop-procedure, but through an inner refashioning of my heart, to make me capable of being truly merciful like the Father?

Misericordes sicut Pater - Merciful like the Father - #TheFather