Scripture: 1st Reading: Lev19,1-2,11-18; Resp. Psalm: Ps19,8-10,15; Gosp. Accl.: 2Cor6,2; Gospel: Mt25,31-46
The believer is called to holiness of life. That is the distinguishing mark of those who follow Christ. The call to holiness however did not begin only at the time of our Lord's preaching of the gospel. It was already present in the Old Testament.
In today's first reading, the word tells us that holiness does not consist in some external show of piety, display of prayerfulness and show of asceticism. Holiness proceeds from God who is holy. So, to be holy, we must learn in the school of God.
Holiness consists also in keeping the commandments of God. It consists in doing deeds of justice and refraining from wicked deeds against the neighbour. It consists in giving justice to the one who deserves it, promotion of equality of every human person.
Holiness consists in abstaining from slander and avoidance of every hatred. It consists in not bring vengeful but forgiving from the heart. It consists in loving our neighbours as ourselves.
Our Lord in today's gospel amplified this teaching in His parable on the end times and judgment. Our Lord tells us in the parable that there will be judgment at the end of time. The good will be separated from the bad.
The basis of blameworthiness and praiseworthiness will principally be things that are considered inconsequential like feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick, giving drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger.
The deeds mentioned there are ones that definitely may elude our attention. And therein lies the danger: that we sometimes concentrate our attentions on other aspects of our relationship with the Lord and forget that the fruit of this relationship must translate into concrete actions in favour of the neighbour.
Those condemned in today's gospel were so condemned because of inaction, blindness to the needs of others, omission to do what they should have done. Herein lies our own path to holiness of life.
This Lent, the word challenges us to be present to the needs of our neighbours. Let us heed the voice of the Lord and enter into His peace.
Let us pray: "Convert us, O God our Saviour, and instruct our minds by heavenly teaching, that we may benefit from the works of Lent." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.