7th Sunday in the Church Year.
Saint for the day: St. Polycarp (d. 156)
Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18
1st Corinthians 3:16-23
“Be holy because I, the Lord, your God, am holy!” (Leviticus 19:2)
Today’s short first scripture reading could be our entire “Liturgy of the Word” since in just four verses it really sums up all that we need to do in order to be holy!
And, of course, the Responsorial Psalm picks up on this theme and “fleshes it out” for us to get a more clear understanding of what it takes to be “Holy as [he] is holy.” See if you can adjust the phrases of the psalm beginning with the psalm response: “Be kind and merciful, because I, the Lord am kind and merciful.”
“Be pardoning because I the Lord have pardoned you.”
“Be slow to anger and abounding in kindness because I, the Lord, am that way with you.”
Now that you’ve gotten the gist of this method you can continue at your own speed. Always remembering that we should use every possible angle in our personal quest to understand the Holy Scriptures in their fullest measure. “Be merciful and gracious since I, the Lord am merciful and gracious toward you.”
Stay with some of these themes until you feel that you have a new and broader understanding of what the Lord is telling us in today’s Liturgy.
See how the second scripture reading from 1st Corinthians begins: “Beloved: Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?”(1st Corinthians 3:16) If we believe this than it means that we are new creatures and we need to begin seeing as God sees. No more vindictiveness; no more “an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth.”
If we are the temple of God, and the Spirit of God dwells in us that means we are a part of the creative presence of God. We are to build up and draw together God’s family and not shut others out from the possibility of being healed and restored to the fullness of life. The closing line of today’s Holy Gospel sums it all up and says, “So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Some scripture scholars say that we could understand this verse better if we used the word “perfected” since that implies that we are always in the process of becoming perfect. We are told that we are earthen vessels and that always reminds me that we are in the process of being shaped and re-shaped into something that isn’t finished just yet. Remember, “It’s heaven all the way to heaven.” Amen!
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