Thursday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 3:15-4:1, 3-6, Psalm 85:9-10, 11, 12, 13, 14, & Matthew 5:20-26
In today’s Gospel narrative of Saint Matthew, Jesus continues His sermon on the mountainside. He outlines very practically how the new holiness differs and surpasses that of the Pharisees. The basic message of His teaching is reverence for Christ’s “sisters and brothers.” We are told we should not be at odds or should we speak harshly with each other. He reminds His listeners of the decree of the Law that they live by and then extends the warning, which begins, “But I say to you…” (please read the Gospel passage). What He goes on to say is clear and full of “sacred respect” for life, human relationships, and includes all humankind.
Today, we must ask ourselves the question, “What is holiness according to Jesus?”
Whatever our answer, we feel we are not there yet, and maybe someday we will have an answer to a very complex question. We do not love all His sisters and brothers. We do not settle arguments before going toward the altar with our gifts. We experience soft hypocrisy in most things concerning religion and holiness. As Christians, we believe that holiness is something we express through our outward actions, which Jesus outlines for us today. It is expressed, not achieved by such actions. We must think “outside the box.” Holiness is His life shared with us; it is received and not achieved. It is manifested in ways that reveal Him and His holiness. “Holiness is what God is; God is love and loving reverently is living that holiness of God in our lives.”
We are well aware of the challenges currently facing our country and the difficulties other countries worldwide are facing. The unfortunate truth is that it is progressively becoming worse as each day passes, making addressing those challenges more difficult. Now is the time for the “sacred respect” for others as Jesus continually calls us to a life of holiness. Holiness is believing in what Jesus commanded us regarding living in unity with others and expressing that unity by serving our sisters and brothers.
Question of the Day: How will you express a life of holiness that brings you closer to your sisters and brothers of the world?
Prayer: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my delivered; my God is my strength.” (Psalm 18)