Daily Reflection
February 18th, 2002
Richard Hauser, S.J.
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Leviticus 19: 1-2, 11-18
Psalm 19
Matthew 25: 31-46

What does it mean for Christians to be "holy"?

I used to think that being holy meant to do the right things and to avoid doing the wrong things -- in short,  observe the commandments! This seemed rather simple and easy to do.  But there is a problem: why did Jesus condemn the Pharisee who perfectly observed all the commandments?

Marcus Borg, a prominent Lutheran scripture scholar, gave me an important insight.  "Being holy"  for a Christian should be heart-centered and not merely action-centered.  "Being holy" means being compassionate just as Jesus was compassionate.  "Being holy" means allowing the Spirit of Jesus living within us to transform our hearts and  our actions.   The Holy Spirit  moves our hearts to compassion for the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the imprisoned; our actions follow our hearts and  we give, according to our ability, food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, welcome to the stranger, clothes to the naked, consolation to the imprisoned.

"Being holy" means  becoming Christ's heart and Christ's hands for our human family, and most especially for our family members in need. Very simply it means living our baptismal vocations and being Christ for our poor troubled world.

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