Daily Reflection
June 10th, 1999
Larry Gillick, S.J.
The Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality
2 Corinthians 3:15--4:1, 3-6
Matthew 5:20-26
We hear Paul boasting of Christ in his life today as we listen to the first reading. "It is not ourselves we preach, but Christ Jesus as Lord and ourselves as your servants for Christ's sake."

Paul bathes himself in the freedom and excitement of believing in Christ Who shines in our hearts so that this shining might reveal that same Christ in the darkness of the world.  Paul knows himself to be a simple servant, but by Christ's calling him, he has the power to give God the glory by living the Light of Christ.

Jesus continues His sermon on a mountain side in today's gospel.  He outlines very practically how the new holiness differs and surpasses that of the Pharisees.  The basic message of His teaching is reverence for Christ's sisters and brothers.  We should not be at odds with each other.  We should not speak harshly to each other.  Jesus reminds His listeners of the prescripts of the law they know and then He extends the call, "But I say..".  What He says is clear and full of sacred respect for life, human relationships and human beings.

What is holiness according to Jesus?  What ever it is, we feel we are not there yet and maybe someday we'll get there, but not right now.  We do not love all His sisters and brothers.  We do not settle arguments before going towards the altar with our gifts.  We experience a soft hypocrisy in most things religious and of holiness.  As Christians we believe that holiness is something we express by these outward actions which Jesus outlines today.  It is expressed, not achieved by such actions.  Holiness is His life shared with us; it is received and not achieved.  It is expressed in ways that reveal Him and His holiness.  Holiness is what God is; God is love and loving reverently is living that holiness of God in our lives.

We are baptized into Christ and His holiness and that surpasses the holiness of the Pharisees who ritually and legally equated holiness with self-achieved justification.  Perhaps a reflection on what holiness is not might be in order.  It is not unrelational, that is, actions whose footing is outside the relationship with God.  Holiness is not a revelation of any person or personality, except that of Jesus.  Holiness is not the same as emotionally self-satisfaction or contentment based on achievement.  Holiness is not the same as approval or the warm feeling of being surrounded by religious objects or rituals.

Holiness is believing in what God has said about us, loving ourselves, because God does and expressing that love by serving His sisters and brothers.

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