Holiness is for Everyone
If your read and listen carefully to all three of this weekend’s scriptures, you cannot avoid hearing the call to holiness. Our mission is to become holy and it begins in this life and comes to completion in the heavenly Kingdom of God. From the beginning of time, God has constantly been calling us to this way of living which includes loving Him as well as one another. In our first reading from the Book of Leviticus, the Lord gives a call or commissioning to imitate Him in holiness. This does not mean that we can become God but certainly can become more ‘God-like’ in how we celebrate our lives and faith. If God is the point of everything, then being religious, being pointed towards God as one’s goal, must show itself somehow in one’s daily life. Cardinal Suhard, Archbishop of Paris in the 1940’s, wrote: “To be a witness to Christ, does not consist in engaging in propaganda nor in stirring people up, but in being a living witness. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would make no sense if God did not exist.” What he seems to be getting at is that there should be something about Christians that makes people wonder what’s at the heart of our lives. Perhaps this could lead us to ask ourselves: ‘Is there anything astonishing about our lives because we are followers of Christ? There is no need for us to gather and form a study group to analyze how we are doing [Please, no more Committees!]. Live your faith and do it all the time and then we earn both the designation of being a Christian and the respect that Lord calls us to.
If we take to heart and action our scripture readings, then we will not feel that we are hearing ‘the same old message’ once again. We all need to be reminded what we are challenged to live and witness to. Jesus renews the call to holiness by showing some practical ways that we can live it in our daily routines. Stay away from thinking revenge, don’t antagonize or threaten one another with lawsuits, make sure that you are not only nice and loving to those you like and hang out with, and if you can accomplish all of this, there will still be time to“…be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
As we heard in last weekend’s gospel, Jesus employs a similar way of teaching this to his disciples and now to us. He knows that we are familiar with the written laws of the scripture, and now the church. He goes beyond this by making it a bit more personal when He says: ‘But I say to you.’ He is not letting any of us have any wiggle room or any way to get off the hook by claiming ignorance. Straight out He identifies what our lifestyle is to look like and what our behavior is to display. Fr. Timothy Radcliffe is a Dominican Priest who wrote an interesting book entitled: “What is the point of being a Christian? In this wonderful book he explores many answers to this age-old question. With examples, stories, great references to “spiritual giants” of our church, and witty British humor. When all is said and done, he concludes with the same thought that he began his book with “The point of Being a Christian is to have our lives pointed to God and don’t overlook anyone by gazing at the heavens and tripping over them.” His editor commented or summarized the book in the following way: “If one thinks of religion as just ‘useful’ then one has reduced it to another consumer product. But if we are pointed to God, then this should make a difference to how we live. This is not moral superiority. Christians are usually no better than anyone else. But the lives of Christians should be marked by some form of hope, freedom, happiness and courage. If they are not, then why should anyone believe a word that we say?” I firmly believe that to accomplish this that we must deepen our friendship with God and one another. It’s as simple as that, and as challenging as that!
Blessings as we journey this path of our faith