Scripture Reflection . . .
Seventh week in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 103 “The Lord is kind and merciful.”
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:16-23
Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48
“Be holy, for, I, the Lord, your God, am holy” (Leviticus).
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in you? . . . the temple of God, which you are, is holy” (1 Corinthians).
“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew).
This call to be holy (and perfect) may sound unattainable. How can I be holy? Who is perfect? It is true, that on our own, this would not be possible. But the good news is that God dwells in us and God is holy and perfect.
Going deeper into the scriptures, let’s explore what it mean to be holy and perfect. We don’t have to look too far:
“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
“The Lord is kind and merciful.”
” . . . you are the temple of God. . .”
“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you . . .”
Holiness is about our relationships with God, self and others. It is about the depth of our love and respect for all three persons.
The core of all faith and religions is love. It is not the devotional practices and rituals, nor the laws and observances. All these are for the purpose of helping draw us closer to God, who is Love. Jesus continually demonstrated that love is the only thing that matters.
When we love God, self and others everything else falls into place. Unfortunately, however, love is not easy for most of us. Often our history and the conditional love we have experienced early on leave us with needs for healing and wholeness. We realize that we will not be wholly complete and perfect in this life but God calls us into life and love nonetheless. We are called to be holy by believing that God does dwell in us because God loves us wholly and completely. This belief of being loved will flow out of us into the world. Don’t settle for mediocrity and getting by in life. Embrace the perfect child of God that you are and don’t be afraid to reach out for help to discover this. We need others- life is about relationships and love.
In Our Lives as Sisters of The Holy Redeemer . . .
We started this past week by gathering together for a brief community meeting followed by a painting party, led by our own Sr. Linda. Art is a wonderful teacher of accepting our own and others’ uniqueness. All the paintings turned out slightly different and each sister was happy with her work of art. We are each works of art, perfect, because God created us.
The next day one of our Sisters in Vocation ministry left to participate in a college retreat for the week. A grace-filled time to listen to and share Gods love with young people.
Another sister participated in a Ministry Leadership Formation program to develop skills to deepen ones ability to lead with a compassionate heart. As Jesus was a “servant leader” so to are we called to lead and serve with love.
At the end of the week, several sisters joined in to help clean a new renovated residence in preparation for the opening of a group home for individuals with intellectual disabilities. A work of love for sure.
All this activity fit in nicely with Valentine’s Day. We thank the kindness of students from a local school who shared their love by making Valentine’s cards for each of us!
In Your Life . . .
Lent begins in just over a week. Rather than thinking of it as a time of giving up things perhaps you may want to take it as an invitation to grow in love. It can be a sacred time to grown in awareness of God’s great love for you – a love that may in turn cause you to feel repentance; a time to seek God’s Spirit to help you to love others, especially those you find it more difficult to love. Listen to God’s kindness and mercy and then let God love through you!
Blessings on your week!