The Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
2020 – Cycle A
Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18; Psalm 103; 1 Corinthians 3:16-23; -10; Matthew 5:38-48
Do you consider yourself holy or at least on the way toward being holy?
Or is true holiness OK for God and a select few, but we have a pretty good sense that most of us are not holy – or holy enough? Are we…will we ever be holy enough in our own eyes?
The whole Book of Leviticus is about holiness; a handbook of holiness, if you will, for living life that is in accord with God. And did you notice to whom the book speaks?
“The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the whole community of Israel and tell them: Be holy…” Speak to who? “…the whole community of Israel…” Every person, this whole assembly, is called to be holy.
This was echoed in the teachings of the world’s bishops at the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council: “The Lord Jesus…preached holiness of life to each and every one of His disciples, regardless of their situation”. [Lumen Gentium #40]
By the way, what is holiness? What are we talking about?
Is holiness a state of being? God in all his glory surrounded by light? Is it haloed saints in prayerful attitudes? Is it sinlessness like the immaculate Virgin? What is it that we are called to?
From the perspective of the Book of Leviticus and of Jesus’ teachings holiness is not something a person is but what a person does.
Holiness is active.
Holiness is far more earthy and gritty than heavenly.
Holiness is characterized by how a person acts in everyday places and relationships.
You are holy when you freely choose to go without so that another person might have food, dignity, clothing, self – esteem.
Holiness is not hating or harming another person.
You are holy when you do not steal what belongs to someone else and that includes reputations.
Holiness is being a good employer and paying a fair and living wage to your employees.
You are holy when you return evil with goodness.
Holiness is generously caring for a disabled child, an ill spouse, an aging and forgetful parent.
You are holy when you go the extra mile with another person.
Holiness is choosing not to retaliate; refraining from doing harm to a person who has harmed you.
You are holy when you do not gossip or slander or hold a grudge.
Holiness is not making life difficult for a person with disabilities, an elderly person with infirmities or a person we don’t get along with.
You are holy when you are fair to all people who cross your path.
Holiness is charitably correcting another person.
You are holy when you care about and pray for people who oppose you, work against you, and make life difficult for you.
Holiness is not reserved just for God.
Holiness is what you and I are called to live.