MONDAY OF THE FIRST WEEK OF LENT
READ: LEVITICUS 19:1-2, 11-18
The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel and tell them: Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy. "You shall not steal. You shall not lie or speak falsely to one another. You shall not swear falsely by my name, thus profaning the name of your God. I am the LORD. "You shall not defraud or rob your neighbor. You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your day laborer. You shall not curse the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall fear your God. I am the LORD. "You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment. Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your fellow men justly. You shall not go about spreading slander among your kin; nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor's life is at stake. I am the LORD. "You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. Though you may have to reprove him, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD."
"Be holy, for I the Lord, am holy." That word holy. We hear it all the time, but what does it mean? The Hebrew word for holy is “qodesh” and means “apartness, set-apartness, separateness, sacredness”. Today we read that God wants to make us holy like him. But what does it mean for us to be holy? To be holy doesn't mean that we only associate with other Catholics or that our lives are boring, stiff, or stale. To be holy is to be filled with God's life and love and to imitate Jesus in our attitudes and actions.
The first step towards holiness is being open to God making us holy through receiving the Sacraments and daily personal prayer.
The second step is examining our attitudes and actions and how we are called to be set apart in those. While others use the name of God as a profanity, we are called to only speak of God with reverence and love. While others may lie to cover up their mistakes or exaggerate to make themselves look better, we are called to speak truth, even if it means that we are humiliated. While others seek to acquire more money and to protect their riches, we are called "to keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive'” (Acts 20:35). Where we are tempted to be partial toward people we think are important or influential, we are called to see people as they are and not use them for our advantage. While others bear hatred in their hearts and hold on to grudges, we are called to forgive and to extend mercy, in imitation of Jesus. While others gossip and slander, we are called to uphold people's dignity, even with our words about them. While our society stands indifferent to the plight of the oppressed, the death of the unborn, and the cry of the needy, we, by our prayers and actions, are called to refuse to stand by idly.
"WOAH. That's not me at all", you might be thinking. Take heart; that's what this season is all about. Holiness is a process. Holiness is about a relationship. Lent is all about us asking Jesus to mold our lives so that they look more like His. Lent is all about drawing near to God who is holy so that he might makes us holy. Today, let us ask for the grace we need to be holy, to be set apart for his purposes.
What stuck out to you in the passage?
What does this passage tell us about God?
Before you think about your actions, have you invited God to fill you with his life and love so as to make you holy?
Where do you find yourself trying to live like other people instead of trying to live like Jesus?
Our faith should make us look different than people who don't know Jesus. Does your life look different?
RESPOND: PSALM 19:8-10, 15
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart. The command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; The ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just. Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart find favor before you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
Your words, Lord, are Spirit and life.
What is one step that you will take towards holiness this week?