Grace to you!
Our conversation yesterday centered on how to find eternal life. We said it’s in the “Come, follow me” Jesus’ invitation. You may want to go back to that discussion because it’s like an introduction to our reflection today.
Holiness. How does this word sound to you? A cliché? A never-realistic word? A special reserve for those in the monastery?
Growing up, I used to identity holiness with only the monks and nuns wearing impeccable and solemn-looking cassocks or habits. This was the imagery from popular literatures on holiness. I thought it wasn’t for anyone. I was wrong.
Holiness is for everyone. It’s indeed, the universal call for everyone. These are not simply my words. The Church’s official documents and the Bible state so. Nonetheless, understanding what it means to be holy can be foggy, many times.
Sometimes, we suppose it’s in keeping the disciplines of our faith, all the requirements of the law, like the rich young man in the Bible (Mark 10:17-27). I discussed this issue yesterday. We fail to see that morality is a necessary first step to holiness, but not the end. Holiness is a journey towards something, towards somebody. We detach from what takes our gaze from the Lord and attach to the Lord and the Lord’s ways.
Only God is holy, just like only God is good. Holiness belongs to God. If we must be holy, it has to be a journey to God who is holiness itself. It is being immersed in God's life. It is encountering, witnessing as well as living God's saving grace.
Consider visiting the entertainment capital of the USA, Los Angeles, and wanting to spend all day going to the movies. You are in Hollywood and have a taxi head east of Hollywood to go to the movies miles away. Wouldn’t it sound ridiculous that you came to Hollywood Universal Studios but drove farther away from it to go see movies?
Holiness has a hub and a circle. Closer to it, and indeed, within it, we find what it means to be holy.
God is holy (see Leviticus 11:44-45; 1 Peter 1:16). To be holy is to be in God and to grow in holiness is to walk in the rings of divine circle. It requires leaving everything behind and following the Lord who is all that the soul is searching for (see Mark 10:28-30). In doing so, we are detaching ourselves from all that stand in the way of the Lord.
Fortunately, just like we need a vehicle to get to the movies, we need the grace of God to become more intimate in the heart of holiness. We need the grace of God to be able to leave our comfort zone in order to give ourselves to the Lord in service. We realize that it is in doing so we become truly free to serve the Lord and also love and serve one another in the way that is pleasing to God.
In effect, if we want to be holy and grow in holiness, let’s avail ourselves of the opportunity to come closer to God. All our activities, relationships, and services for the common good should draw us closer to God. It is then that all we do is sanctified. Walking in the footsteps of the Lord wherever we are and in whatever we think and do, all by God’s grace, is living a holy life.
You know where to find God in the most unique way. You know where God has made himself perpetually present in such a way that you can see him, touch him, and be with him—the Church in worship; more importantly, in the Eucharist.
Praying for the grace of holiness of life. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday Week 8 Ordinary Time of the Year: Readings Sir 35:1-12; Mark 10:28-33]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.