The Cathedral Connection 6 May 2018

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THE UNIVERSAL CALL TO HOLINESS

A new “Exhortation”, or letter, from Pope Francis is a simple, yet deeply enlightening appeal for everyone to recognise that the purpose of life is to become holy. Rejoice and be glad [Gaudete et Exultate] is the title and from its opening lines Pope Francis is clear that he wants us to appreciate that holiness is very attainable through ordinary daily living. He writes:

I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people: in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile…. Very often it is a holiness found in our next-door neighbours, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence. [N.7]

Doing little things well, is holiness; keeping your room tidy, is holiness; being patient in a queue, is holiness; biting back a rude or insulting remark, is holiness’ forgiving an injury, even if you cannot fully forget it, is holiness. The possibilities are endless. Holiness, the Pope insists, is not reserved to saints, but is the call of God to each one of us. Realising this, can put us on a new and clearer path to peace both within and around us.

Today’s scripture readings bring us close to the climax of Jesus’ mission. We hear there is “no greater love” than to gift your life for your friend, with the Apostle John identifying God as “love” and assuring us that this God has first loved us – long before we could even think of loving God. All this must surely give rise to thanksgiving, and what better way of showing gratitude than to try and become like God – holy.

Fr James

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