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 identify 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 yesterday. We fail to see that morality is a necessary first step into it, but not the end. Holiness is a journey towards something, towards somebody.
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 him 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 the rings of the divine circle. It requires leaving everything behind and following Jesus who is all that the soul is searching for (see Mark 10:28-30).
Fortunately, just like we need a vehicle to get to the movies, we need the grace of God to become more intimate into the heart of holiness. God’s grace makes holiness possible for us. It isn’t by our power.
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.
You know where to find God in the most unique way, you know where he 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.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Tuesday Week 8 Ordinary Time of the Year: Readings 1 Peter 1: 10-16; Mark 10:28-33]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible 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.