Readings: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18, I Corinthians 3:18-23, Matthew 5:43-48
In the reading from Leviticus we hear, “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.” Then in the Gospel we hear Jesus say, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Holy and perfect? Sounds like an unattainable goal to reach, an impossible standard set by the Lord. But then we hear in Corinthians, “you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.” That’s how we are holy and perfect - of and through Christ. Our ladies’ Bible study class talked about the Jews in Jesus’ time and the many rules they had to try and keep themselves holy. Some Jews wouldn’t travel outside their home area, refusing to mingle and risk being corrupted by the people “on the other side” of the Sea of Galilee. They tried to be holy and perfect by being separate and confined and legalistic. Christ offered a whole new way to be holy. It was internal separation from the world with attachment to God, where there’s freedom in Christ even though we are confined by His boundaries of love. Without Jesus, the people tried so hard to make themselves holy, and failed, but we have Jesus making us holy, and He never fails. We live out of that holiness He deposits in us. Oh what joy there is in forgiveness! Oh what responsibility there is to remain in Christ! In order to keep ourselves separate from the world, we each have the boundary God gives us. Some of us censor what we eat or drink, what we watch and read, what we hear and touch, as that helps us stay inbounds with Jesus in our heart and live “in the world but not of the world.” We are each loved and lead in a personal way by the Holy One. Thank the Lord and sing His praise!