Monday of the First Week of Lent
In the first reading today, the Lord is calling us ‘’to be holy”. Very often we conclude that this holiness is set apart for only a few people like the servants of God (Bishops, priests, religious) and saints. But my friends we need to understand the reality that God did not call a few chosen people to holiness, rather He called an entire nation that He chose to be His own, namely, the Israelites (Lev 19:2). All chosen people of God are called ‘to be holy’.
In 1 Peter 2:9, we read that we are a holy nation – chosen and set apart by God. All those who called ‘Christians’ are called to lead a life of holiness. For Jesus tells us in the Gospel that there is a Kingdom that has been prepared for us from the foundation of the world. When we live a life of holiness, we too will enter into this Kingdom as promised by Jesus.
But in order to enter, we need to be holy like God, that is we need to become God-like. Originally, that was how God created us in the beginning – in His image and likeness (Gen 1:26). We ought to reach back to our originality (image and likeness of God) and recognize this true image in every individual we encounter in our day-to-day life. This is why Jesus considers that any good deed done or denied to any human person in need is actually done or denied to Jesus Himself.
The Season of Lent is a wonderful time to return to the Lord and be restored to our original image and likeness. It is a time to become holy and help others to become holy. Are you ready to be ‘set apart’ for God? Are you willing to be holy? If you are a Christian, it is not a choice but a duty and responsibility to live a life of holiness. Then you would also hear the sweet voice of Jesus saying: “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take as your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world.” (Mt 25:34)