THE SEVENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
“Sanctify yourself and you will Sanctify Society.”
As society advances and grows rapidly with science and technology, our modern-day approach to religious values seems to be treated with disdain.
Holiness is perceived as something belonging to our ancestors in the ancient days. Vengeance, revenge, unforgiving character, lack of reverence to the Sacred, bearing hatred, holding grudges against others, etc. have become almost our everyday life situation.
People just don't care about the need to be holy. After all, they claim it's their right to do what they think they do! But is that the will of God for creating us as His image and likeness? Certainly, no!
In our first reading, God made it emphatically clear that, ”Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy... You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Lev. 19:2, 18) This reminds us of the basis of our Christian morality and the Divine nature of God; which is His unconditional and magnanimous love, care, concern, mercy and forgiveness.
As His chosen ones, it is incumbent upon us to be the physical embodiment of His holiness in families, workplaces, relationships, communities, etc by foregoing revenge, holding no grudges and bearing no hatred. Indeed, the basic foundation of our vocation as Christians lies in loving your neighbor as you love yourself.
The Apostle Paul continues the narrative on how to be holy by encouraging us to keep our bodies holy, because they are the temples of the Holy Spirit. By this, we become the dwelling sanctuaries of God Himself; we, therefore, become the visible image of the invisible God. From the heart comes all sullied desires and from the mind comes all evil impressions. These defile the body. Pay attention and remain focused.
Being holy, you lead people to witness and feel the presence of God in you. Living a holy life becomes a must - not an option - as a Christian. Just decide to be. This is what the saints did. You are not far from it. May the Lord make His grace just enough for you!
Lastly, Jesus in the gospel reading leads us to the practical means of proving our holiness in life circumstances. He insisted we forgive any insult or action, instead of fighting for privileges and positions we should rather show more sense of responsibility and a greater sense of duty and to love our enemies.
The call to holiness comes with total commitment and with unrelenting faith. As Christians, remember this, "by their fruits we shall know them..." If people trust you and know you better, look like your master.
May God increase our faith.
Stay warm and stay safe on the road. See you in church. Love you.
Fr. Emmanuel hails from Ghana and is passionate about the Gospel and bringing the love of Christ to all people. He speaks several languages, enjoys soccer and cooking, and loves St. Francis of Assisi.