Be Holy

First Reading: Lv 19:1-2, 11-18
Psalm: Ps 19:8, 9, 10, 15
Gospel: Mt 25:31-46

The readings today get down to the basics of the spiritual life. As a matter of fact, however, the basics appear to be quite advanced: “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” The measure of our holiness is to be the holiness of God. Holiness in the Old Testament connotes not piety but difference or separation. God is all holy. He is totally other. We are to be holy because he is holy. The values we live by are to be totally other; they are to be the antithesis of the values that our world cherishes: materialism and capitalism.

Read through today’s first reading and notice the thrust of the prohibitions. They are all concerned with justice and charity. Do not steal, defraud or rob your neighbor. Do not withhold overnight the wages of your day laborer. Do not curse the deaf. Do not put a stumbling block in the way of the blind. Do not render judgment dishonest ly. Do not hate your brother. Take no revenge. Hold no grudges against your countrymen. The readings today remind us not to stand by idly when our neighbor’s life is at stake. The basis for divine judgment is not simply the good and the evil we have done. According to Christ there is another basis for judgment: the good we could have done but failed to do.

  • smileyjr

    While agree with the central point of today’s homily, I do have a bone to pick with the author.  Contrary to the implication set forth in the last sentence of the first paragraph, capitalism in and of itself is not evil, or even the root of evil.  Michael Novak argues in his excellent book, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, that capitalism housed in a representative system of government, provides the best framework in which our Catholic mission can be realized.  Indeed, it can be argued that such a system is animated by the principles underlying our faith.  To the extent capitalism has an antithesis, that antithesis is socialism, which has proven, by far, to be the most unjust, destructive force in the history of mankind.  Indeed, among the first steps taken in any socialist country is the eradication of all religious practices.  Historically, Christianity has thrived in democratic capitalist countries.  Historically, nations with such an economic and political system have produced the most individually generous people in the world, expressed both as a percentage of those who donate time and money to charitable endeavors and in absolute dollar terms.  The excesses of capitalism, which are rooted in greed and gluttony (i.e., materialism), properly are to be condemned, but to condemn the economic system that has produced the most widespread benefits of any in human history as antithetical to the values we cherish is political commentary disguised as religious thought. 

  • Llkazlas

    Catholics give less money to the church, statistically, than any other religious denomination though. Only about 25-28 percent contribute anything at all to their parishes and the one who do contribute only give about 2 percent of their income to the church and that averages about $20 a week per household. We aren’t really very generous with our money. Statistically speaking only about 17 percent of us volunteer our time to our parishe life too.

  • Llkazlas

    Catholics give less money to the church, statistically, than any other religious denomination though. Only about 25-28 percent contribute anything at all to their parishes and the one who do contribute only give about 2 percent of their income to the church and that averages about $20 a week per household. We aren’t really very generous with our money. Statistically speaking only about 17 percent of us volunteer our time to our parishe life too.

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