Today in Scripture we hear some ways to live in holiness: from the Old Testament, from St. Paul, and from Jesus in the Gospel. Just in time for the Lenten Season and our personal reconciliation we can choose to be holiness in action. While reading the Scripture for this weekend I pondered what holiness meant to me personally; what it is and what it is not.
Holiness is not the rigid moralism, or code, of a thousand “don’ts.” Last weekend we heard most of the Scripture readings speak about the law. Jesus explained, for example, that “Do not commit adultery” actually calls us to build wholesome, healthy and holy relationships with one another. “Do not bear false witness” has the intent of calling us to be totally honest (there is no such thing as an alternative fact, and the truth’s credibility is always tied to the integrity of its messengers). Holiness is more about the infinite “do’s” that we can do to make life better for all. Being holy is less about what scared people avoid, and more about what changed, transformed, and converted by faith people actually do and choose in all life situations.
As a spouse, a parent, a worker, a student, a teacher, a lawyer, a candlestick maker, a neighbor, or a momentary presence in a stranger's life—your call to holiness is a very practical challenge to make others’ lives better, fuller, happier, healthier, more sane, more thoughtful, kinder—and more aware of God’s loving presence for them because you are in their world. (Remember two weeks ago—you are light and salt for the world!) Holiness is responsive; a conscious call for action and a choice in any of life’s circumstances. Instead of an “eye for an eye” we are called to love and pray for enemies, to be peaceful and generous to those who persecute us. Yikes! This is the challenge of a true believer.