Monday, February 13, 2017

Behaving Like God


Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading 1LV 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."
This book is named "Leviticus" because a lot of the book deals with priests, and the priests were from the tribe of Levi.  The book of Leviticus parallels the Ten Commandments but aimed for the Levite priests.  Although these particularly chosen verses are for us people, too.  We are all to strive towards holiness as God is holy. 
We are to revere God, and we should respect each other as God reveres us. My favorite priest, Father Aniello, says, "Thank you, Jesus, for making me your # 1.  Help me to love others as # 1, as You instruct me to."  Loving others like God loves us, will make us holy.  This type of love forbids inner hatred.  Inner hatred breeds grudges and vengeance.  God's love has no room for hate.  
Being holy is behaving like God.  "Love your neighbor as yourself."
I remember when Troy, a catechumenate in RCIA got up and ostentatiously left Mass during the Prayers of the faithful. He didn't come back to the Mass but he did attend the next RCIA class.  I asked him the reason for his rude departure from Mass.  Troy responded something to the effect that Father had asked everyone to pray for terrorists and he'd be damned before he would pray for terrorists.
But "we're not praying for their success; we're praying for their hearts to be converted!"  Troy knew that.  He actually didn't want their conversion.  Troy wanted them to go to hell!
Oh boy!  Lord, what can I do?  Where do I begin?  How do I explain that You want us to love our enemies?  This does not make sense to people like Troy.  How did You convert the Israelites who were obligated to exact revenge by Mosaic law?  I need the Holy Spirit, desperately.
People like Troy did not receive much love in their youth.  Their homes didn't foster forgiveness and love.  I understand that.
Maybe if I began with that premise--parents, homes, and backgrounds. If you grew up in the home of a terrorist family, you'd be a terrorist, yourself.  You would want to kill your enemy.  But we are Christians and are taught differently.  This is RCIA, after all.
Holy Spirit come open the hearts of Troy and others who struggle with the concept of God's love.

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