Homily Seventh Sunday Year A Call to holiness

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Homily Seventh Sunday Year A

Reading 1: “Be holy, for the Lord your God is holy”. This call is rooted in our baptism. God removed the bondage of alienation from him. He shared his divine life with us. We became a son/daughter of God, a member of the family of God. As a result, sin is to be removed from our heart, if we fall again.

Moses identifies hatred, revenge, grudges as some of these sins. He also says that if another does something wrong against us, we are not to retaliate, less we lose our relationship with God. Instead, we are called to reprove the other but continue to love the other as God does in spite of wrongdoing.

We are about to enter into the season of Lent. It is a special time of grace. We are invited to turn away from sin and to live more fully the life of a disciple of Jesus Christ. We do this by acting on his word.

Recall what still is painful in our relationship with the other, but don’t add sin to sin. In our heart and with the grace of God, we need to choose to forgive the other as Jesus has forgiven us of all our wrongdoings. In our heart, we need to ask the other for any wrongdoing we did in retaliation. Finally, we are called by God to forgive ourselves. Then, we are to bring all this and lay it at the foot of the cross, where it belongs. Jesus died for that wrongdoing that was done to us as well as all wrongdoing we have committed.

Gospel: Jesus picks up the words of Isaiah “be holy, for the Lord your God is holy”. He tells us “Be perfected as your heavenly Father is perfect”.

Then he specifies how we are to do this. Instead of retaliation, hurt for hurt, learn to display love and power and realization of one another’s dignity. Love is not based on the action of the other, but on the choices we make. These choices need to be based on our personal, intimate relationship with God.

Even if the other is an enemy, we must remember that when Christ gave his life for us, we were not his friends, but his enemy because of sin. He loved us because it was his choice. He acted out of his own self-identity as the Beloved Son of the Father.

He could have retaliated against those who put him to death. Instead he chose to love them, whether they wanted to be loved by him or not. He chose to forgive them. We are called to live out of our true self-identity as sons and daughters of God. We grow in holiness to the extent we grow in love. During this Lent we will be given many opportunities to respond to the call of God to be holy, to love, to live consciously the life of God within us.

Reading 2: To be holy, to be reconciled makes no sense until we recognized who we truly are and what God has done for us. We are Temples of God, the Spirit of God dwells in us in a mysterious way, imperceptible to the human eyes. We became such in Baptism.

Do we recognize that reality in ourselves and in one another? It is nothing that we did. It is God, who has made us such. The truly wise person will recognize what God has done and respond to it. The truly foolish person would be oblivious of this mystery of God’s love and life.

Recognizing who we truly are or should be would make a difference how we treat and respond to others. If the people of Jesus’ day had recognized and honored who Jesus was, would they have crucified him? It was because of the hardness of their hearts that hindered them from recognizing and responding to the truth. 

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