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 steal. You shall not lie or speak falsely to one another. You shall not swear falsely by my name, thus profaning the name of your God. I am the LORD.
“You shall not defraud or rob your neighbor. You shall not withhold overnight the wages of your day laborer. You shall not curse the deaf, or put a stumbling block in front of the blind, but you shall fear your God. I am the LORD.
“You shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment. Show neither partiality to the weak nor deference to the mighty, but judge your fellow men justly. You shall not go about spreading slander among your kinsmen; nor shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake. I am the LORD.
“You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. Though you may have to reprove your fellow man, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:1-2,11-18)
This article is the second of three Catholic Man Channel articles that are intended provide insights into what it means to be a holy Catholic man, as well as some practical steps we can take. When you look at the above Scriptures from Leviticus, do you get the sense that God is trying to tell us something here? After each series of commands concerning how the Israelites are to treat one another, he proclaims yet again: “I am the Lord.”(Leviticus 19:12,14,16,18). He is telling us that each command he gives is yet another reflection of his holiness—a holiness he is inviting us to take as our own. He is telling us that if we want to really know the holiness of God, we need to look carefully these commands.
By placing such an emphasis on brotherly love and respect and honor, God is showing us that he himself is a Father who treats all his children the same way. We are to show honor because that is what he does, and he is “the Lord.” Not surprisingly, his creation works best when it is in harmony with his nature. As his children, we cannot expect to find true happiness except in treating one another the same way he treats us.
And yet we still fail. Why? Because it is easy in the thick of the struggle to lose sight of God’s kindness to us and disobey him by showing unkindness to those around us. But, true to himself, God does not seek revenge or hold a grudge. He forgives us. He extends his life and love to us. He offers us a taste of the joy of heaven on earth; if we will only repent and have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the salvation he won for us though his passion, death, and resurrection.
Amazing, isn’t it? He is Almighty God, but he doesn’t lord it over us. He is the “Uncreated Creator,” but he stoops down to share his very life, his very holiness with us. If this is the way our God treats us, how much more should we act with justice and mercy toward one another. How much more should we say yes to the Lord’s command: “Be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy.” (Leviticus 19:2)
“Father in Heaven, I surrender to your truth and love. Pour your Spirit into me so that I may have the power to see the things I need to change. Make me holy, as you are holy, and help me to live always in your light.”
(Maurice Blumberg was the founding Executive Director of the National Fellowship of Catholic Men (http://www.nfcmusa.org/), and is currently a Trustee. He is also the Director of Partner Relations for Partners in Evangelism, (http://www2.wau.org/partners/), a Ministry to the Military and Prisoners for The Word Among Us. Maurice can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
[Many thanks to The Word Among Us (http://www.wau.org/) for allowing me to use this daily meditation from the July issue of their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.]
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
1. The reading from Leviticus provides some commands from the Lord on how to be holy men. How are you doing in living up to the commands listed?
2. In what ways are these commands of the Lord “yet another reflection of his holiness”?
3. St. Paul proclaims these words in the second letter to the Corinthians: “For the love of Christ impels us, once we have come to the conviction that one died for all; therefore, all have died. He indeed died for all, so that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14). Why is it necessary to first know and experience the Lord’s love and forgiveness, before we are able to be obedient to the Lord’s command: “Be holy, for I, the LORD your God, am holy.”
4. If you are in a men’s group, pray for one another that you would receive the power and the grace to respond to the Lord’s command to be holy. Use the prayer at the end of the article as the starting point.