Monday, February 21, 2011

Readings for 20 Feb 2011

Reading 1
Lv 19:1-2, 17-18
The LORD said to Moses,
“Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them:
Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy.
“You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart.
Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen,
do not incur sin because of him.
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people.
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
I am the LORD.”

R. (8a) The Lord is kind and merciful.
Bless the LORD, O my soul;
and all my being, bless his holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
He pardons all your iniquities,
heals all your ills.
He redeems your life from destruction,
crowns you with kindness and compassion.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
Merciful and gracious is the LORD,
slow to anger and abounding in kindness.
Not according to our sins does he deal with us,
nor does he requite us according to our crimes.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.
As far as the east is from the west,
so far has he put our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
R. The Lord is kind and merciful.

Reading 2
Brothers and sisters:
Do you not know that you are the temple of God,
and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person;
for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.
Let no one deceive himself.
If any one among you considers himself wise in this age,
let him become a fool, so as to become wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God,
for it is written:
God catches the wise in their own ruses,
and again:
The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are vain.
So let no one boast about human beings, for everything belongs to you,
Paul or Apollos or Cephas,
or the world or life or death,
or the present or the future:
all belong to you, and you to Christ, and Christ to God.

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You have heard that it was said,
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil.
When someone strikes you on your right cheek,
turn the other one as well.
If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic,
hand over your cloak as well.
Should anyone press you into service for one mile,
go for two miles.
Give to the one who asks of you,
and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.
“You have heard that it was said,
 You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Fr. Anthony talked about being a temple of God and what that truly means in our lives, how we can transform ourselves through humble and love-centered living, and how the understanding is found within your heart, although it can be affirmed, understood, and focused through your intellect and logic.

It is unfortunate that our world so highly praises intellect. Do not misunderstand; it is, of course, important to utilize the gifts and talents we are given. (see Matthew 5:14-16, Mark 4:21, James 2:18, Matthew 25:1-13 & Matthew 25:14-30 In encouraging that we nurture these, our world is correct. Of course we should encourage a healthy appetite for knowledge and a good expansion of our abilities. However, this is simply not enough.It is not enough to be smart. It is not enough to be talented. It is not enough to make amazing paintings and to talk about all things current and intellectual and to be awesome. It is not even the most important thing. Christ clearly spells out to us that the most important part of our lives on this earth is how we treat God and how we treat our neighbors.

This means that goodness is above our social achievements. Goodness, holiness, being a temple of God is above being smart or wealthy or fun. In a world where intelligence and "excellence" are so praised, in a world where 90% of Downs Syndrome children are aborted, in a world where stupid is a bigger insult than selfish and wherein logic is paramount, what are your priorities? Are you striving for social graces, wealth, intelligence, knowledge, greatness, physical beauty, or recognition and attention? More importantly, are you striving for goodness? Are you striving for Love? Above the things of the world, are you striving for the things of Heaven?

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