Sunday, March 05, 2006
Monday 1st week of Lent
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Monday 1st week of Lent
March 6, 2006
LEVITICUS 19:1-2, 11-18
The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the whole assembly of the children of Israel 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 kin; 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 him, 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."
Jesus said to his disciples: "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ' Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?' And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.' Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.' And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
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.
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