Sunday, 23 February 2014
7th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, Shaftesbury
At the end of Mass today we’ll be addressed by Ian Maudsley of the SVP who has come to Shaftesbury to speak to us about the “Feed my Lambs” project, and tell you how the money you have donated over the past couple years has been spent.
As a consequence, my words now will be brief.
He will be speaking to you about a work of charity our parish has been committed to.
Our first reading and Gospel text today likewise speak of charity, in the love of neighbour.
Let me point out, however, that each of those readings think that love of our neighbor into a deeper source: the holiness and perfection of God.
In the Old Testament God was repeatedly declared to be ‘holy’. This, more than anything else, was what was revealed as characterizing God, so much so that it was the only thing that was said of Him in the threefold Hebrew superlative form:
holy, holy , holy (Isa 6:3)
–a threefold repeated in the New Testament in the Book of Revelation (Rev 4:8).
To be ‘holy’ meant to be ‘set apart’, to transcend other things and other alleged ‘gods’.
He is not a small imperfect thing, but above, He is ‘holy’.
It this is thus closely related to the way we heard the Lord Jesus describe the Heavenly Father in the Gospel: “perfect”(Mt 5:48).
And the point is this: when we are told to be ‘holy’, when we are told to be ‘perfect’, when we are told to ‘be like God’,
The thing we are told to do is to ‘love your neighbour’ –this is what God is like, and this is what we must be like if we are to be like Him: “God is love”(1 Jn 4:8).
Information about our parish SVP "Feed My Lambs" fund can be see here.