February 19, 2017

Reading 1 Lv 19:1-2, 17-18

The LORD said to Moses,
“Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.

“You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD.”

This command to be holy is one that we come across often.  God says to be holy just like He is.  That’s the thing; we are meant to be like Him.  We are made in God’s Image and Likeness, and there is a seed planted in all of us about how we should be.  Because God is at our core, there is a desire to let that show, to set it free.  When we have this perfect Model, we do everything in our power to strive to become just That.

Don’t we sin because other people are involved constantly? Sin is stirred up because we get angry which can lead to violence; we become lustful and take advantage of others; we are greedy so we use people; we are envious so we put people down.  Loving neighbor as we love ourselves.  That is to say that we have the correct definition of neighbor; a neighbor is anyone around us whether she is a friend or stranger.  There are no boundaries on this love, and it may be uncomfortable or uneasy at times.

Another thought that comes to mind to make sure things aren’t skewed is that our love for ourselves must be true, real love.  How could we ever love neighbors as ourselves if we do not love ourselves well? That is a serious problem of today’s generation because self love is lost is the feeling of not being good enough and the culture of comparison.  This occurs when people hate themselves for their sins or something physical or their circumstances.  Guess what.  You are enough, and to prove it, God sent His only Son to show that love.  I’m not going to say look within and that’s how you find love.  Look out and find the foot of the cross.  That’s love.  Only then can you truly love another.

Reading 2 1 Cor 3:16-23

Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.

Let no one deceive himself.
If any one among you considers himself wise in this age,
let him become a fool, so as to become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God,
for it is written:
God catches the wise in their own ruses,
and again:
The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are vain.

So let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you,
Paul or Apollos or Cephas,
or the world or life or death,
or the present or the future:
all belong to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God.

How many times have you heard that your body is a temple? ….But how many times has it just slipped away from our consciousness soon after?  The thing is this applies to all areas of our lives.  Our bodies our houses for the Holy Spirit.  Wouldn’t you want that to be the best place possible?  Portrayal of body is very important when it comes to this.  How we dress, how we dance, how we carry ourselves is important.  Are we trying to attract the attention of others with our bodies? Because this is selfish.  Our bodies, just like everything else, were made to glorify God.  Modest fashion is not to say that you have to be covered head to toe in neutral colors or be uncomfortable; it is merely a reminder that our bodies are not our own or meant for self-serving purposes.  We should also love our bodies well by eating healthy food, exercising, not drinking too much, or getting involved with drugs.  It needs to be taken care of and appreciated it.  Body image issues is a big problem that people face, and don’t we just want to adore the place where the Spirit resides in us.  If we have guests in our house, aren’t we hospitable, don’t we clean, don’t we bring out the best china, don’t we clean the sheets in the bed they’re sleeping in.  We give so much attention to our homes when people comes over, and the fact is that we have Someone over every single second of every single day.  We must clean it up and maintain that cleanliness.

Let us not let pride win.  If we think we are wise, we will be humbled and reminded exactly how foolish we really are.  Do not think too highly our yourself.  Have confidence and do not think too lowly, but remember that you are never too good for the wisdom of the Lord.  Another thing we must never forget is that all things belong to God ultimately.  How annoyed do we get when we do not receive the things we feel entitled to?  We want that money back that we lent; we want that raise we worked so hard for; we want that A for all the work put in; we want to be blessed for how much we prayed; we want our health back.  We need to remember that everything is a gift and a blessing from God that we do not deserve and do not get because of what we’ve done, rather it is because of Who God is.  Become detached from any possessions or emotions or anything that holds you back from being fully aware that nothing is yours.  Not one single thing.  Simplicity.  Knowing God and loving Him can be the only things we have to call mine, and that is enough to still give Him praise.

Gospel Mt 5:38-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

“You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Turn the other cheek.  We may think, “How nice. What a cliché.”  Guess what, this is a command.  We are called to love, a radical kind of love.  If people hurt us, we are not to look for revenge and seek out ways to cause them more pain than they caused us.  We are not supposed to feed into people’s sins or negative energy.  We are to be an example to the world on how to break the chains of that back and forth resentment/grudge/get back at mentality.  The attitude that people deserve payback, and that we are the ones that ought to teach them the lesson is completely false.  This is playing God.  Who are we to decide people’s fate is and what should happen to them.  This is not our job.  Our job is to love.  And what good is it to love those that love us.  That is easy.  There is no struggle in that.  The real test is when we are asked to love the girl that got with your boyfriend, the kid that called you fat in 5th grade and caused insecurities, or even the people that planned the 9/11 attacks.   This call is hard, gruesome, and challenging, but we are chosen to work to be perfect like our Heavenly Father.  Each day there are many choices, and that is where this idea comes to life.  It is not going to be easy and come naturally; it takes time and practice.  Start with the small decisions, and things will start to fall into place.  One day you will realize those shaped you for the big things.






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