Homily for the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: Be Holy
By: Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Homily for Sunday February 23 2020
The first reading is taken from the Book of Leviticus 19:1-2. 17-18, in which we are asked to be holy, for the Lord is holy. It means we need to look to God’s absolute perfection. God is perfect in every way possible: perfect in love, perfect in mercy, perfect in anger, perfect in justice, perfect in everything. This perfection is directly connected to the holiness of God.
To be holy as God, we need to reflect on God’s command to holiness. Striving for holiness in your own life is something that God has commanded you to do as a believer. You need to belong to God. You need to dedicate your mind and your heart to God.
God commands his believers to set themselves apart from the sinfulness of the world. This does not mean shutting yourself off from the secular world, but it does mean following God’s law even with secularism criticizes you for doing so.
You need to practice self-control. It means we need to overcome temptations that lead to sins. Temptation does not always come in a tangible form. It is relatively easy for many people to resist the temptation of stealing something from the store or physically hurting someone who angers you. It is much more difficult to resist the root temptations of greed and hate.
You need to guard yourself against the weaknesses of character that can distract you from God. These weaknesses include things like pride, envy, greed, hate, slothfulness, gluttony, and lust. You need to surrender any desire that is not of God.
Consider working catalysts into your daily routine. Some spiritual practices can serve as catalysts that help propel you toward a holier, more enriched existence. You do not always need to practice these catalysts to be holy, but they may guide you toward holiness when used.
You need to pray. Prayer is a powerful resource—one of the most powerful tools available to the believer, in fact—so praying for holiness on a regular basis can help you become and remain holier. Your prayers for holiness do not need to be long, extravagant, or eloquent. Something simple is perfectly fine as long as you pray it from your heart.
The second reading is from the first Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 3:16-23, in which Paul reminds us that your body is the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you.
If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy. Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you considers himself wise in this age, let him become a fool, so as to become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in the eyes of God.
Humans have done so many things that are either good or bad for the body. To help you take care of the Holy Spirit’s temple – your own body, you need to give it the Sabbath that it needs, for God didn’t command us to take our Sabbath rests for nothing (see Exodus 20:8).
If you just keep working without resting, your body will soon give up and collapse. It needs rest, both in the physical (sleep and taking breaks) and spiritual (resting in the presence of God in worship, prayer and fasting). Give your body a break.
Feed it with the right kinds of food. Eat the right amount of food. There are some who become so obsessed with getting slimmer that they don’t eat anything anymore. On the other hand, there are those who don’t care about their figure and just munch away at huge amounts of food.
Give it exercise. Respect it as a body God made. We must treat the human body with respect because God made it in His image (see Genesis 1:26-27).
The Gospel is taken from St. Matthew (5:38-48), in which Jesus tells us to love your enemies, pray for your persecutors. To “Love Your Enemy” is to find it in your heart to put aside any wrongs, and to love them as a fellow human being. You don’t have to love them like you love your parents or children or best friend.
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.
Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ