7th Sunday O.T. (A)
“Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.”
Dear brethren in Christ, today’s Sunday liturgy is a reminder of God’s Will for each one of us: holiness and perfection.
- In the Old Testament, God said to Moses:
“Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.
“You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD.”
Whereas in today’s Gospel, (Mt 5:38-48) which is a continuation of Our Lord’s Sermon in the Mount, Jesus told his listeners as he continues to elevate and purify what has been taught in the Old Law bringing it into perfection.
“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
- I remember one of the comments put by a person in one of my posts saying: “Why is your page called ‘Catholics striving for holiness’? Isn’t is too presumptuous? ANALYZE!” These words were verbatim. I just decided not to reply to her comment. Nevertheless, the answer to her question are God’s words which we have quoted above.
- We should all rejoice on the fact that the holiness and perfection which Jesus asks from everyone –and not just some– of his followers is not something unattainable. Rather, The Most Blessed Trinity wills that we journey towards this path and correspond to His call for this is what will lead us to everlasting happiness! We must not forget that happiness here on earth and in heaven is not and cannot be provided by what is fleeting and material, but only by God Himself and our union with Him. God wants us to be holy because He wants us to be happy.
- However, the holiness and perfection to which God calls us does not in any way signify that we can attain perfection all by ourselves. Holiness is God’s work primarily. All we have to do is to allow Him to work in our souls and correspond to His grace, day in and day out. We will have our own share of victories and defeats, we will always die with our defects and miseries. What God wants is that we respond to His call, to want to be holy, to put the means to be holy, having recourse to the fountain of His Grace which are prayer, Sacraments and sacrifice; and the daily struggle to uproot our defects, all done out of love, which is the perfect motive which all of us must have to start, continue and persevere in our journey towards heaven.
- The above ideas demand that we live as God wants us to live and put into practice what God taught us through His Son to arrive at the perfection of love. In the same Gospel, Our Lord said:
You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?.’”
- The Commentary to the Gospel of St. Matthew (Navarre Bible) states:
“This passage sums up the teaching which precedes it. Our Lord goes as far as to say that a Christian has no personal enemies. His only enemy is evil as such –sin– but not the sinner. Jesus himself put this into practice with those who crucified him, and he continues to act in the same way towards sinners who rebel against him and despise him. Consequently, the saints have always followed his example –like St. Stephen, the first martr, who prayed for those who were putting him to death. This is the apex of Christian perfection –to love, and pray for, even those who persecute us and calumniate us. It is the distinguishing mark of the children of God.”
With these words said, let us ask God through the intercession of Our Lady and St. Joseph so that we would take His call to holiness and perfection of love seriously, with the real resolve of loving (which presupposes forgiving), and praying for those who do us harm.
“Grant, we pray almighty God, that always pondering spiritual things, we may carry out in both word and deed that which is pleasing to you (Opening prayer of the Mass).”
Cordially inviting you to visit and like our FB page in www.facebook.com/CatholicsstrivingforHoliness so we can have a wider apostolic reach and thus help more people in their Christian life. Thanks! Fr. Rolly A.