Today’s first reading tells us of a directive the Lord gave Moses: “Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.”
Mark those words, – “speak to the whole community: Be holy”. The call to holiness was given to one and all and not just to the religious leaders. When we hear the words, ‘Be holy’ our warning flags come up and we assume that God is calling us to a sterile kind of life. But the true meaning of holiness is that we are set apart for better things and for the Lord’s glory.
We link the ‘Be holy’ to ‘do not be lustful’ but the Lord qualifies the call to holiness when he directs us not to bear hatred and revenge and instead to love one another. Such a call seems a little odd in the Old Testament but this was and has been the Father’s call…by living in love we can live in holiness, avoiding revenge, hatred, selfish behaviour and greed.
Our call to holiness is to live the way the Father treats us as mentioned in Psalm 103. We are benefitted from having a relationship with him. He redeems our lives from destruction and crowns us with kindness and compassion. He does not deal with us according to our sins but instead is slow to anger and rich in mercy.
Having such a Father to love us and live in and with us we are called to emulate his qualities and show mercy and love in our day to day living. He forgives and puts away our transgressions. He reminds us that we carry his presence and we become Temples of his presence when we journey in holiness.
It is a privilege and blessing because it not only benefits us but also those around us. While we are temples, others around us are also temples of God’s presence, even the politician, the actress in the movie, the criminal on the street can receive the mercy of God still available to them and they are temples of God. Hence we cannot destroy them since we will be destroyed as well.
Everything, every person and every situation belongs to the Lord. We need to seek his face as we respond to whatever happens around us. The Lord is well aware of our thoughts and those around us. Given that our omnipotent God is so well in tune with our lives, our thoughts and our motivations, we cannot assume a God-like authority in life and should be quick to forgive. We cannot live with an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth mentality but instead show love, mercy, kindness and forgiveness in all circumstances.
Prayer: Abba Father, you have shown us love, mercy and compassion, we pray for the grace to share the same with those around us. Amen.