Be Holy …
Two injunctions are repeated in Leviticus and Mathew’s Gospel this weekend: “Be holy (perfect) as God is holy (perfect)” and “Love your neighbour as yourself”. Both readings challenge us to reflect on relationships and the quality of our relationships.
In the first instance, we are challenged to base our relationships on God’s relationship with us. The reading from Leviticus equates being holy (as God is) with relating to others and Jesus does the same in the gospel reading. If being holy seems to be an impossible bar, we are reminded that holiness is within our capability. Psalm 103 describes the divine attributes we are to apply to our relationships: forgiving, merciful, compassionate, abounding in steadfast love, gracious, slow to anger. These qualities or attributes are to be the normal way of relating to others for God’s people, for anyone who professes to be a disciple of Jesus. Thus, “holiness” applies to everyone not just a special few.
One comment that I have heard often when the topic of religious vocations comes up is “I’m not holy enough to be a priest, brother, sister”. Often people have a false sense of what holiness means. We can hold an image of holiness that is unrealistic and unattainable. Even the greatest saints were ordinary people who lived their lives simply imitating God’s love in their relationships with others. Yes, some had extraordinary experiences, but at the heart of their holiness was their commitment to live as disciples, following God’s invitation. God would not call us to be “holy as God is holy” if this were an impossible thing. The readings this weekend remind us that holiness lies in the quality of our relationships and those qualities are spelled out in the Psalm response. Thus, we are called to a life of holiness – in every moment of life, in every action, relationship, vocation. And, some are called to live lives of holiness as priests and religious, loving our neighbour as ourself.
By Richard Beaudette, OMI
Vocation Team – East