Monday, February 26, 2007

A Call to Holiness

In today’s readings God calls us to a life of holiness. It is a call that comes not as a condition of God’s love, but rather as a response to God’s action in our lives. We see this especially in the reading from the book of Leviticus. As the Lord instructs the people of Israel in his ways, giving them his commandments, he reminds them “I am the Lord,” each time using the same divine name he revealed to Moses. Each time this refrain is used, it is a reminder to the Israelites of all that God has done for them in freeing them from slavery. It reminds us to be holy because the one who asks this of us is the one who decided to intervene in our lives, the one who calls himself Yahweh - “I am he who am in your midst.”

In the gospel reading, the ones who are invited to enter the kingdom responded to God with active charity toward their neighbors in need. So God’s call to Holiness is not about only making sure we don’t offend others, but also doing good unto others in imitation of what God has done unto us. When we fail to do good, we sin by omission, which is why we confess before mass that we have sinned in what we have failed to do.

It is all too easily at times for us to get caught up in focusing on the wrongs others have done to us and on the ways others have failed to do good to us. Yet time and again the Lord calls us to forgive as he forgives and to love as he loves, not looking for a return as the condition for our giving (cf Lk 14:12-14). In short God calls us to perfect charity. God calls us to be like him, and in doing so, he calls us to something which is impossible for us to attain on our own.

But in our journey God also calls us to remember that nothing is impossible with God (Lk 1:37), that to those who have faith everything is possible (Mk 9:23). Just as God did not expect Moses to lead the Israelites from slavery on his own, but rather intervened with mighty deeds, likewise God has told us that our sanctification is his will for us and so we know that God will faithfully help us to become holy, to love as he loves, to forgive as he forgives. Since we are at the beginning of Lent, this is a perfect opportunity for us to recommit ourselves to striving to love others with an active charity. We can try more to do good for others, like practicing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We can ask God for his help, especially praying that the Holy Spirit give us the fortitude to continue to try and to keep trying.

1 comment:

Charles of New Haven said...

Brother, I just wanted to congratulate on you on becoming famous-I saw you on "Whispers in the Loggia" this morning.