In today’s first reading we hear, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” Yet we know we cannot achieve perfection. Our attempts to love neighbors and even our enemies fall short of what God desires for us. Yet in Jesus we see one who loved even those who persecuted and killed him. We are made holy in baptism, and forgiven at the table of God’s mercy. As a people made holy by God, we go in peace to love as we have been loved.
Serving this Week:
Communion: Betty B.
Communion Alter Care: Betty B.
Counter: Betty B.
Readings this week:
First Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
The Holiness Code in Leviticus urges people to be holy since God is holy. Holiness is lived out in partiality for and consideration of the poor and the weak. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves.
1The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
2Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.
9When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. 10You shall not strip your vineyard bare, or gather the fallen grapes of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the poor and the alien: I am the Lord your God.
11You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; and you shall not lie to one another. 12And you shall not swear falsely by my name, profaning the name of your God: I am the Lord.
13You shall not defraud your neighbor; you shall not steal; and you shall not keep for yourself the wages of a laborer until morning. 14You shall not revile the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.
15You shall not render an unjust judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great: with justice you shall judge your neighbor. 16You shall not go around as a slanderer among your people, and you shall not profit by the blood of your neighbor: I am the Lord.
17You shall not hate in your heart anyone of your kin; you shall reprove your neighbor, or you will incur guilt yourself. 18You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
Psalm: Psalm 119:33-40
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes. (Ps. 119:33)
33Teach me, O Lord, the way | of your statutes,
and I shall keep it | to the end.
34Give me understanding, and I shall | keep your teaching;
I shall keep it with | all my heart.
35Lead me in the path of | your commandments,
for that is | my desire.
36Incline my heart to | your decrees
and not to | unjust gain. R
37Turn my eyes from be- | holding falsehood;
give me life | in your way.
38Fulfill your promise | to your servant,
which is for | those who fear you.
39Turn away the reproach | that I dread,
because your judg- | ments are good.
40Behold, I long for | your commandments;
by your righteousness en- | liven me. R
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
Jesus Christ is the foundation of the church and its ministry. We are God’s temple because God’s Spirit dwells in us, and we belong to Christ. Hence we are called to build wisely upon this sure foundation not for our own benefit but for others to experience Christ’s benefits.
10According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building on it. Each builder must choose with care how to build on it. 11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ.
16Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
18Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. 19For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written,
“He catches the wise in their craftiness,”
“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise,
that they are futile.”
21So let no one boast about human leaders. For all things are yours, 22whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all belong to you, 23and you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declares an end to the law of vengeance. God’s people will respond to evil with love and forgiveness.
[Jesus said to the disciples:] 38“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; 40and if anyone wants to sue you and take your coat, give your cloak as well; 41and if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile. 42Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
43“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”