by Fr D. Mazibuko osm
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1st Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18
2nd Reading: I Cor 3:16-23
Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48
This Sunday once more we hear a continuation of the Sermon on the Mount by Jesus. This time Jesus teaches the multitudes about love for enemies. The source of this teaching is also found in the First reading from the Book of Leviticus. The foundation of our discipleship is love. Through Moses and Jesus, God teaches us that there is no law that supersedes love. Our way to holiness begins with love of our neighbour. There is no way for us to love God and still bear a grudge against our neighbour. There is no way we can love God and have hatred towards our neighbour. No way! Both readings are candid and succinct about this.
The second theme that comes out from the gospel and the first readings is the open call to holiness. ‘Be holy for I the Lord your God am holy’. Plain and simple. Clear and simple. In fact the verb ’Be’, that begins the sentence is an imperative, it is a command. God loves us so much that He invites us to be like Him. He wants us to have more than His image. He wants us to be like Him in our mode of being, especially to our neighbour. Chapter V of Lumen Gentium of the Second Vatican Council is a call to universal Holiness. ‘Therefore in the Church, everyone whether belonging to the hierarchy, or being cared for by it, is called to holiness’. I believe God’s original plan for humanity was exactly what both readings call us to this Sunday, holiness.
And so our response to both readings has a bearing in our daily spirituality. We are called to be different. We are called to respond to hatred and grudges with love. Indeed violence can only breed violence. We are called to give a counter response to what is perceived as right and normal. Clearly Jesus calls us to another level. He calls and invites us to His level and image. Jesus asks of us to do more, to love and pray for those who persecute us. Really? Is this this possible? If we do not follow this teaching, we are not different from non-believers. Indeed where is our saltiness? If not where is the credibility of our witness and faith? Dear brethren, let us respond generously to the call, ‘Be holy’. The only gateway to heaven has been put at our doorstep.