Today’s world is so hell bent on perfection that even a tiny defect is viewed with disdain.
Top brands reject clothes with small flaws, parents abort babies with structural imperfections, pilots are dismissed with even negligible visual failings, army recruits are not selected even if they have insignificant health issues and the list goes on. In short, the world has grown to despise and hate defective people and things.
It is at such a time that the world needs a “defective” role model. Who better to look to than Jesus Christ himself? This statement may shock you, as it did the Roman Curia when Archbishop Francis Van Thuan preached the spiritual exercises in 2000 and among many other things spoke of the 5 defects of Jesus Christ.
So let us learn more about our “defective” Lord.
The first defect: Jesus has a terrible memory.
Jesus never looked at the past sins and crimes of the robber on the cross. Instead, Christ forgave him the moment he asked for forgiveness by saying,
“Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43).
Jesus forgets all of man’s sins.
He does the same thing to the sinful woman who anointed his feet with perfume. He does not ask about her colourful past but simply says,
“her many sins have been forgiven because she loved much.” (Luke 7:47)
How often do we hold on to grudges, anger and things of the past? How often do we find it difficult to forgive and forget what someone did to us in the past?
Jesus not only pardons everyone, he even forgets that He had pardoned.
The second defect: Jesus doesn’t know maths.
Jesus teaches us about the parable of the lost sheep wherein the shepherd sets out in search of one lost sheep leaving the other ninety nine in the wilderness. For Jesus, one is equal to ninety nine and perhaps more!
A bizarre teaching indeed. But Jesus’ mercy is endless and unfathomable.
His actions overflow with mercy when he speaks with the Samaritan woman at the well, or when he wishes to dine at the house of Zaccheus. How often do we go out of our way to help our brothers and sisters who have gone astray? How merciful are we to people struggling with sin?
Jesus knows no calculations, only an unending love for sinners.
The third defect: Jesus doesn’t know logic.
A woman who loses one of her ten pieces of silver gets so excited when she finds it that she calls her neighbours and says to them,
“Rejoice with me, because I have found the silver piece that I lost. “(c.f. Luke 15:8-10)
This was truly illogical: to disturb your friends over one silver piece and then to plan a feast to celebrate it. The feast itself would cost much more than all ten silver pieces. Jesus reveals the strange logic behind this parable when he says,
“Just so, I tell you, there is more joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luke 15:10)
How hard do we strive to bring others to Christ?
How joyful are we when our friends give up their sinful ways and turn to Jesus?
The fourth defect: Jesus is a risk taker.
A politician standing for elections has a strategy which involves many promises to his voters.
Jesus however only promises trials and persecutions for those who follow Him. To his disciples who have left everything for Him, He does not guarantee food or lodging, but only a share in His glory.
The disciples however had faith in this risk taker. So did the hundreds of saints over the last 2 millennia.
Are we ready to risk everything for the sake of Jesus?
The fifth defect: Jesus doesn’t understand finance or economics
We learn from the parable of the workers in the vineyard that the workers who went out to work early in the morning were given the exact same wages as those who went out in the evening.
Is Jesus’ accounting wrong? Not at all! He does it on purpose, as he explains,
“Can I not do what I want with what is mine? Or are you jealous because I am generous?” (Matthew 20:15)
Are we generous in our tithes, charity and almsgiving?
Jesus has all these defects because He is Love (1 John 4:16)
Real love does not reason, does not measure, does not create barriers, does not remember offenses and does not impose conditions.
Jesus always acts out of love. A love that reaches even to the point of folly, throwing our human measurements into disarray.
During this year of mercy, may we strive to imbibe the defects of Jesus. For, to have the defects of Christ is to assure our place in eternity.