Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Cross in Green Bay, WI

Reflection for Feb. 19, 2017

by Sister Jane Riha

"Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy." These words from the Book of Leviticus will be proclaimed in the first reading this Sunday. We might ask ourselves, “Seriously, how can I be holy as God is holy?” Perhaps we have grown up with a sense that only certain persons, like saints, can be holy. Holiness does not come in one size. Holiness is for everyone because we are created in God’s image and likeness and as a result the Source of Holiness is within our very soul. Since God’s love is boundless and extravagant, becoming holy is diverse and boundless.

The Scriptures for this Sunday give us wisdom and insight into a holy way of life as disciples. The Gospel is replete with the challenges facing true disciples. Yes, the call to holiness is not the easy road. It involves self-sacrifice, forgiveness, kindness and patience toward those with opposite viewpoints and significantly different lifestyles. Jesus showed us the way, a way that is possible for each of us.

At the heart of our journey is a deep relationship with God. God will direct us and guide us. May the Lord fill your heart with overflowing love!


I've seen "you must become perfect..." but I've also seen "we are being perfected ..." I like that second one. It means we've been given the goal, and we're working toward it with God's help. I also read recently that holiness of loving God -- and of course, "if you love me, you will keep my commandments." So, obedience and holiness go hand in hand. So wonderful to know we don't have to do it alone!

"Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy." Lv. 19:1
Yes, holiness is of and from God. God says, "As I am holy, so are you holy, as I made you like me, in my likeness, and I have placed my Spirit within you." It is not so much what WE actually do, but what God-does-in-us. It is because God-is-holy, and living within us, that each-of us-are-holy.
As you say, Sr. Jane, it is our inner-and-inter-connectedness, our relationship with God (self, others, creation) that speak our holiness. The conclusion of holiness, as the first reading says, is in loving others. Lv.19::18
And again, Sunday's psalm refrain says it so beautifully, "The LORD is kind and merciful." As we are in the image-and-likeness of God, so is kindness and mercy inherently within each of us, ready and waiting to be put to good use. :+) Ps. 103:1
* All the more reason our response to 'foreigners,' immigrants, refugees must be one of mercy, compassion, and deep hospitality. For we are, indeed, welcoming God-in-our-midst.

It is reassuring to read Sister Jane that God will be there for each of us, to sustain & guide us on our journey as we seek to deepen our relationship with Him.
Thank you for your Reflection! Michael


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