February 23, 2014 – Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lv 19: 1-2, 17-18; Ps 103: 1-4, 8, 10, 12-13; 1 Cor 3: 16-23; Mt 5: 38-48
Eight separate times in the Bible we are told to “Love our neighbor.” As exemplified by today’s first reading from Leviticus, this command is found in the Old Testament, as well. Leviticus is the third book in our Old Testament. It was written some 600 years prior to the birth of Christ, and many scholars feel it was compiled by Moses himself.
In the first reading for this Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time, God declares to Moses, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus echoes that sentiment in the Gospel from Matthew affirming “You shall love your neighbor.” More than once Christ points out to us that this is the formula for striving for holiness and following Him. All we have to do is love our neighbor and everything else will fall in to place.
From a stewardship outlook, both the first reading and the Gospel point out the other challenge we have. In Leviticus God calls us to”… be holy for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” Again the Son reaffirms that call by saying in the Gospel, “… be perfect just as your Heavenly Father is perfect.” Of course, we understand that the holiness and perfection to which we are called is impossible for us. Nevertheless, stewardship is one path we can take to move that direction.