26, ఫిబ్రవరి 2023, ఆదివారం

 

Monday of the First Week of Lent

Leviticus 19:1-2, 11-18

Matthew 25:31-46

 

The Call : to Be Holy (Lev 19:1)

The Measure : the Holiness of God (Lev 19:1, Mt 5:48)

The Action: Love and Service (Charity) in our Interpersonal relationship (Lev 19:18, 

                    Mk  12:31)

The Identity : God identifies with every person (the neighbour, the needy) Lev 19:14, 16, 18,                                         Mt 25:40, 45)

 

No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.(John 4:12 )

If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. (John 4 : 20)

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ Jesus, the readings of the day explain  to us that standard and goal in our life. That is to be Holy as God is Holy, to share in his Holiness.  The readings present to us the reason and  the ways of becoming Holy. The basis of our holiness is the Holiness of loving God.

The first reading,  taken from the book of Leviticus, gives the Holiness code: “Be holy, for I the Lord, your God, am Holy.”  Our God is both transcendent, beyond our comprehension also at the same time He is immanent made himself known to us through his words, actions above all through Jesus Christ. So the people of Israel and now we are expected not only to adore and revere but also share his Holiness by living holy. God’s holiness consists in his unconditional love, care, mercy and forgiveness. So in order to live holy we also need to have the same qualities. Holiness consists of :  1) “Love your God 2) “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

St. Paul also tells that We are to be holy because we are the temples of the holy spirit , the holy spirit lives in us. The presence of the holy spirit in us leads us towards holy life, always encouraging us to better our thoughts, words and actions in allegiance to the life of Christ.

Jesus also affirms the standard of our life that is:  “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) It means that our standard is high which is based on how God thinks, speaks and does , it’s not based on what everyone is saying and doing. So we ought to be different and be like your heavenly Father. That’s the standard and goal. But too often in our lives we settle for everything except for this.

The Meaning: Holiness means set part, so when we say a person is holy he is set aside by God for holy purpose.

 

Today’s readings present to us one of the ways to become Holy, The Lord speaks through Moses to gather and  instruct all the people. Moses gives them some regulations on how to relate with others socially as well as religiously. Because we live in an interconnected society, therefore how we connect to the person determines the quality of our life. Therefore in this respect Holiness pervades every aspect of our life.

The Lord gives us some commands to follow for our day to day life in our interpersonal relationship which would lead us to form a character that is Holy.  Our each thought, word and action in relation to the other matters to God  because at the end of verses 14, 16, and 18 God reminds that “ I am the Lord''. He reminds them that He identifies with them. so whatever we do and however we relate directly connects to God. 

The instructions are crystal clear:

No defilement of His name and No unnecessary usage

No Oppression

No Negligence towards Physically challenged

No unfair Judgement regardless of Poor or Rich

No Partiality

No hatred in our hearts

No slander and No robbing.

 

Though every instruction is explained in negative terms, at the end of verse 18 we find “ love your neighbours as you love yourself”. Therefore everything can be summed in this command to love others and to reach out to them.

In the Gospel “ amen, i say to you, what you did  for one of these least ones, you did for me” and amen, i say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me”

Jesus too in the Gospel identifies himself with the least, the needy: especially the people who are in need of food, drink, clothing; people who lack a home, health and freedom.

By identifying Jesus reveals that they too deserve human dignity and respect despite their condition, they too deserve to be looked after.

God Judged on the basis of their relation towards the other, especially the needy. Both the groups were surprised, and had no awareness. Some had responded to the needy and others had failed to respond. It was important for God in assessing our attitude. Because

    In dealing with the other, we are dealing with the Lord.

    In serving the other, we are serving the Lord.

    In loving the other, we are loving the Lord.

    In neglecting the other, we are neglecting the Lord.

Examples : Rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31) ;  Good Samaritan Story (Lk 10:25-37)

 

Today our neighbour could be anyone who comes in contact with us despite his or her background and the least of which could be any who is socially, socially, economically and psychologically disadvantaged. God expects us to treat them as we would treat him because they belong to the family of God and whatever we do to them is done ultimately to the Lord. 

 

From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

From the abundance of goodness within, good actions flow.

From the abundance of love within, loving behaviours proceed.

From the abundance of kindness within, kindhearted conduct emerges.

 “in the evening of our life, we will be examined in love,” - Saint John of the Cross

Are we prepared for the evening and meet our God?

 FR. JAYARAJU MANTHENA OCD

11వ సామాన్య ఆదివారం

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