Monday, March 2, 2009

Be Holy!

God speakes to his people, through the great prophet Moses, in today's first reading(Leviticus 9:1-2,11-18) and challenges them and us to "Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy." What an incredible invitation and it's what Lent is all about!

I know a lot of people become uncomfortable when they hear the word "holy." I guess we think of it as something saints are and sinners are not, and we fall into the latter rather than the former category. The Church is a "holy Church of sinners" and "sinners" is a great thing to be since that's who Jesus came to invite to a change of heart.

The Gospel (Mt. 25:31-46) is the parable of the Last Judgement.

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'
Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Jesus continues the story for the "goats" who chime in just as the "sheep" did, "when did we see you ... and not minister to your needs?" It's like saying "If I knew it were you, I'd certainly have done it, but I didn't recognize you in those "least brothers" of yours."

Holiness is recognizing the Lord, in whatever guise, and ministering to Him. That's what Jesus means when He speaks about giving alms in the Ash Wednesday Gospel (Mt.6:1-6).

Be holy!

God bless you!