Just two verses long, today’s passage contains one of the most
daunting commands in all of scripture: You shall be holy!
It is one thing to say that we shall be morally good and loving
because God is good and loving. We can handle that. Basic
goodness and a loving disposition seem like attainable goals.
By contrast, the command to be holy because God is holy makes
us nervous. It sounds too lofty a goal. Yet God commands that
very quality. So we face a dilemma: Either God has given us a
command that we cannot live up to, or we are capable of being
holy. Which is it?

To answer this question, we begin by noticing that we are
not told to be God. God says we will be holy. Whatever being
holy entails, it doesn’t mean being God. God and holiness are
related, but they are not the same thing.

When it comes to God, holiness denotes two dynamics
simultaneously. First, holiness denotes the absolute difference
between God and creation. Put simply, we are never to confuse
God with any part of creation, and we are not to desire or otherwise
approach any aspect of creation as though it were God.
Second, holiness also denotes God’s drawing near to God’s good
creation. So while we do not confuse God with creation, God
condescends to dwell within creation.

When God commands us to be holy, God does not suggest
that we cease being part of God’s good creation. We become
holy when, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we open our hearts
and lives to the indwelling presence of God. We are capable of
holiness because God freely chooses to dwell within us. God’s
presence in our lives produces the fruit of goodness and love.

Holy God, I celebrate the fact that you not only made the world but that you are present within the world. In this moment, I welcome you into my heart and life. I long to know your presence and to be transformed by it. Amen.

Rece las Escrituras usando Leccionario en Audio
Leer Matthew 5:38-48

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Leccionario Semanal
February 13–19, 2017
Resumen de la Escritura

These texts evidence relentless concern with the moral requirements that belong to life with the God of the Bible. They assume the foundation of covenantal law in God’s rescuing acts. That foundation is implicit in undergirding these several treatments of God’s commands. The psalmist is aware that the commands of God constitute a radical counter-obedi- ence. The text from Leviticus brings us to the core claims of cov- enantal law. The rule of the God of Israel leads directly to focus on the neighbor. The neighbor is not just an inconvenience or an intrusion but is the stuff of moral awareness. Paul’s admonitions to the Corinthian Christians state the bold claim that Jesus Christ is the central focus of every Christian’s commitment. The Gospel reading invites the community to reflect on, imagine, and devise extra measures of neighbor love that reflect the character of God.

Preguntas para la reflexión

• Read Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18. What would be some signs that you are attaining the holiness God desires?
• Read Psalm 119:33-40. The writer states that “Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to perfect it.” How did/does Jesus do that?
• Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23. Consider how these two statements relate to your life: “We do not have to be morally perfect before God will dwell within us” and “We can be morally impure after God comes to dwell with us.”
• Read Matthew 5:38-48. What instances in your life show that you “reject the call for retaliation or revenge in favor of the higher calling of forgiveness”?

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