Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

The readings for this Sunday are a call and a reminder of who we are and how we are meant to live. As disciples of Christ, we are not supposed to live according to the customs of the world or the expectations of society. We are baptized Christians, called to live a life of holiness, and set apart for God. In the first reading from Leviticus, Moses tells the Israelites, “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” In this passage, Moses is referring to the Israelite people as a whole, telling them to love their fellow Israelites. But later Jesus, when asked in the Gospels, “Who is my neighbor?” clarifies this law to love your neighbor by telling the story of the Good Samaritan, essentially saying that everyone, even those outside of our own circles – people who are not our family, friends, coworkers, or acquaintances, but even strangers we pass on the street are our neighbors too.

In the Gospel this Sunday, Jesus goes even further and says that not only should we love complete strangers, but we should even go so far as to love our enemies, and to do good to those who persecute us. Truly, this kind of love is not normal or natural. It is a love meant to be lived out by the children of God, a love that sets us apart from the rest of the world. This is what it means to be holy. This is what we are called to do. We are not meant to live according to the manners and customs of our times, but rather according to the timeless teachings of Jesus, which every day and in every age call us on to greater levels of holiness. As Christians, our destination is heaven. And while we live here on earth, we are meant to live holy, saintly lives, living the heavenly life here on earth.

St. Paul tells us that we are a temple of the living God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in us. And as Catholics, Jesus himself dwells in our very bodies in the Sacrament of Communion. Let us be mindful, then, of the life we are called to live – a life of supernatural holiness, set apart from the world to share and spread the light and life of God to all we encounter. The more we embrace our calling as disciples of Christ, following His teaching and listening to His guiding voice in prayer, the more we will shine a heavenly light here on earth.