Every person is a unique individual.  There is no one else in the world exactly like you or exactly like me.  Most of us take pride in this.  We are originals.  None of us wants to be an   imitation of some other person.  And this is a healthy attitude.  It would be a sad thing to go through life pretending to be someone else.

 And yet, there is a sense in which imitating other people is an essential part of living.  We all do it.  The language that we speak is a case in point.  Every one of us learned to talk by imitating the sounds that we heard others make.  And to a large extent, we learned to walk, to eat, to play, and to work by that same method.  Unique individuals though we are, our lives in large measure are imitations of what we have seen and heard in the lives of other people.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  That all depends on whom we choose to imitate.  Some degree of imitation is inevitable for every one of us.  Therefore, we should exercise wisdom and caution when choosing our role models. 

St. Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, calls us to the highest level of imitation.  He wrote, “Be imitators of God as His dear children.”  His attitude was that since we are going to imitate someone, why not the highest and the best?  Why not God, Himself?

Obviously, there are some things about Him that we cannot imitate.  But St. Paul mentions characteristics of God that we, as His children, can copy in our own living.

The first is kindness.  Each of us must deal with the daily routine of life.  We must do our work, pay our bills, and hopefully have a little fun in the midst of it all.  While doing this, our most consistent challenge will be living with and relating to other people.  It is here that we are called to practice simple kindness.

Sometimes we should stop and think about epitaphs – those brief statements etched on gravestones in memory of the deceased.  How would you like to be remembered?  Let us live our lives now in such a way that when we are gone, it can be rightly said of us: “He was a kind man,” “She was a kind woman.”  If we do that, we will “be imitators of God as His dear children.”

Another divine characteristic that we are called to imitate is a willingness to forgive.  In the Church, we carry a profound message of hope for a sinful world.  It is that God is the great forgiver.  But every day of our lives, we either confirm or deny that message by the way we deal with one another.  If we fail to forgive, we are contradicting the very message of Jesus.  When we are mutually forgiving, we are simply imitating what God has already done for us in Jesus.

Can you and I truly become kind and forgiving, just as God is?  In our own strength, the answer is: “No, we cannot.” 

If we are to imitate God, we must have help from outside ourselves.  Here Jesus presents Himself as “the living bread come down from heaven.”  Jesus offers Himself as our spiritual food.  So, we should become like Jesus.  And when the life of Jesus is  incorporated into our lives, then it becomes possible for us to be “imitators of God as His dear children.”