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.