for Sunday, February 23, 2014
The readings today speak to us about what it is to be holy. Perhaps too
often we think of holiness as something that is for others and not for us.
It is important for us to change our minds and to realize that God wants me
to be holy. God wants you to be holy. To be holy is not something for
experts or for just a small group of people. All of us are invited to be
The first reading today, from the book of Leviticus, states clearly: be
holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy. This is an invitation to be like
God. All of our Scriptures, both the Old and the New Testaments, describe
for us who God is and how God treats his people. This can be scary for us
because some of the descriptions of God are scary. You and I must learn how
to understand the Scriptures.
The Scriptures are given to us by the living tradition of the Church. The
Scriptures are not just texts which can be understood without the living
tradition of the Church. The living tradition of our Church includes the
whole living tradition of Judaism from the Old Testament. Thus we are
invited to understand the holiness of God from the way it was understood in
the heart of the Church.
For instance, in the second reading today, from the First Letter of St.
Paul Corinthians, we hear that the temple of God is holy, and we are that
temple. In the context of the New and Old Testament can we begin to
understand the meaning of this expression. This should not frighten us. God
does not us to be Scripture scholars. But God does to keep meditating on
the word and to keep trying to understand it.
In the Gospel today, according to Matthew, Jesus teaches us what holiness
is. To be like God is simply to love all other people and all creation.
This is how God is. God is love. If we are to be holy, then we must become
all love. Be holy because God is holy. Love because God is love.
The teaching of Jesus is very clear. Love is not about feeling about
others, it is about doing good to others. We Christian must understand the
difference between feeling good about someone and doing good to someone.
There will be many times when we donít feel good about others, and yet we
must still do good to others. The challenge always is to love our enemies.
Our enemy can be anyone. Each of us knows inside himself or herself when
another person has provoked a negative response within us and, in some way,
is now our enemy.
We can find many ways to justify not loving our enemies. The teaching of
this Sunday is very clear. Be holy. Love others. God has invited us to
be like Him and the way to live that is to love all others and all of
creation. It is a very simple message and yet it is the most difficult to
live because it means to love those whom we do not want to love.
My sisters and brothers, come! Let us serve the Lord. Let us respond to
His invitation and live as He lives. Let us love. Let us forgive. Let us
walk in the light of the Lord.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Leviticus 19.1-2, 17-18
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3.16-23
Gospel: Matthew 5.38-48
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: