HOLINESS – A WAY OF LIVING
HOMILY – 7th Sunday [A] 2017 [1Cor. 3:16-23]
Holiness comes before perfection! That’s an important statement. We don’t label ourselves as “holy” because we know we’re not perfect and we equate holiness with perfection. That’s so wrong! People are not declared saints because they were perfect but because they took their “holiness” seriously and enabled it to shape their lives for the good of others as well as themselves.
In our first reading we hear Moses being told to be holy, just as God is holy, and we hear this echoed in the gospel words of Jesus: Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. And there’s St Paul asking us to realise we are God’s temple! Each reading carries a central guideline to help us reach our potential – to be perfectly holy – and that guideline aims to eliminate hatred and vengeance from our way of living, to be generous in the gift of our time and our possessions: to live, loving our neighbour as ourselves.
None of us gets anywhere wishing our life was somewhere else. When you do that you end up stuck, disappointed and frustrated. Everything that happens, happens NOW. The past and the future have nothing concrete to offer – just memories and hopes! Holiness works much the same. A temptation is not only to want to be somewhere else, but to be someone else!
Advertisers play on this weakness.
They recognise that we often worry about not being as rich or as famous or as popular or as generous as others we know. They tell us their products can change all that!
Jean Vanier – the Canadian who spent his life working with the disabled – pointed out that this kind of wishful thinking quickly turns to guilt, shame or jealousy – all of which are in opposition to holiness. He writes, It is very important to realise that our vocation is hidden in where we are and who we are….We will never find our vocations by trying to figure out whether we are better or worse than others. We are good enough to do what we are called to do. We should spend our energy discerning our gifts, finding the treasure hidden in where we are and who we are.
Pope Francis, writing last year about the family, following the 2015 Rome Synod, catches this theme very well. He writes, in the document, Amoris Laetitia – the Joy of Love, “No family drops down from heaven perfectly formed; families need constantly to grow and mature in the ability to love.” [par.325].
Our parish has taken up Pope Francis’ work and produced a book of prayers for families and individuals, to show the ordinariness of holiness! There may not be any saints among us, but there IS holiness.
We have parishioners speaking about this publication at Masses today – if you are reading this online you can still learn about the book and view some of its contents through the parish website (this website): www.mcshwellington.org