By Deacon Ken and Marie Finn
BEFORE YOU BEGIN
Pray and ask God to speak to you through His Holy Spirit.
“THE PARACLETE, THE HOLY SPIRIT WHOM THE FATHER WILL SEND IN MY NAME, WILL INSTRUCT YOU IN EVERYTHING, AND REMIND YOU OF ALL THAT I TOLD YOU.” (JOHN 14:26)
FIRST DAY Reread last week’s readings.
- What was a helpful or new thought from the readings or from the homily you heard on Sunday?
- From what you learned, what personal application did you choose to apply to your life this week?
SECOND DAY READ LEVITICUS 19:1‑2, 17‑18 FIRST READING
(“Be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy.”)
- To whom was the Lord speaking? Leviticus 19:1
- To whom did the Lord tell him to speak, and what did he tell him to say? Leviticus 19:2
- Who makes us holy and how do we become holy? Exodus 31:13, Ephesians 5:25‑26, 1 Corinthians 3:17
- What must we do to become holy? Leviticus 20:7
- What is with his holy ones? Wisdom 3:9
- Who are the holy people? Isaiah 62:12
- What shall you not do, and what may you have to do? Leviticus 19:17
- What does Prov. 9:8 say will happen to us when we reprove an arrogant man and a wise man?
- What must we not incur because of our brother? Leviticus 19:17
- What must we not do against our fellow countrymen, and what command is given in Leviticus 19:18?
Personal ‑ Are you loving your spouse, children, relatives, friends, and neighbor as yourself? In what way is the love of your neighbor evident? Share with someone if you wish.
- Who does God say he is? Leviticus 19:18
Personal ‑ Who do you say God is? In what way is he your Lord? Your friend? Your ruler? Your Lord of all? Meditate on this.
THIRD DAY READ 1 CORINTHIANS 3:16‑23 SECOND READING
(“You are the temple of God.”)
- What is it of which you may not be aware? 1 Cor. 3:16, 1 Corinthians 6:19
- How do we know this? 2 Corinthians 6:16
- What will happen to anyone who destroys God’s temple? 1 Corinthians 3:17
- What is the temple of God and who is that temple? 1 Corinthians 3:17
- How can we delude ourselves? 1 Corinthians 3:18
- What should you become if you think you are wise in a worldly way? 1 Corinthians 3:18
- What is absurdity with God? 1 Corinthians 3:19
- What does scripture say about the worldly wise? 1 Corinthians 3:19‑20, Job 5:13
- What must we not let happen and what is ours? 1 Corinthians 3:21‑22
- To whom do you belong? 1 Corinthians 3:23
- How do we know this? 1 Corinthians 6:20
- To whom does Christ belong? 1 Corinthians 3:23
Personal ‑ If you have been purchased by the Blood of Christ and you belong to him, in what way does your life reflect him in his Spirit dwelling within you to everyone you meet? This will be evident by the love they see in you. Reflect on this.
FOURTH DAY READ MATTHEW 5:38‑48 GOSPEL
(“Offer no resistance to injury.”)
- In Verse 38 of Matthew 5, who was speaking and what did he say that they had heard? Matthew 4:17 5:38
- What does he say to us, and when a person strikes us on the right cheek, what should we do? Matthew 5:39
- What should we do if someone wants to go to the law over our shirt, and should anyone press us into service for one mile, what should we do? Matthew 5:40-41
- What should we do with the man who begs from us, and what does Jesus tell us not to do? Matthew 5:42
- What has God given us?
- What is the other commandment that he said we have heard and what is his commandment to us? Matthew 5:43-44
- What will this prove, on whom does he make the sun to rise, and on whom does he cause the rain to fall? Matthew 5:45
- If we love those who love us, is there any merit in that, and who does even that much? Matthew 5:46
- If we greet our brothers only, what is praiseworthy about that, and who does as much? Matthew 5:47
- In a word, what must we be made, just as your heavenly Father is? Matthew 5:48
Personal ‑ In your life, how are you being made perfect, like your Heavenly Father, as you obey his command to love since you have been studying and have been obedient to his Word? Read John 14:21 to see the correlation between love, commandments, and obedience. Share with someone on how this has affected your life.
FIFTH DAY READ PSALM 103:1‑13
(“He redeems your life from destruction.”)
Read and meditate on Psalm 103:1-13.
What is the Lord saying to you personally through the Psalm?
How can you apply this to your life?
SIXTH DAY READ ALL OF THE COMMENTARY
LEVITICUS 19:1‑2, 17‑18
This book, “Leviticus,” acquires its name from dealing with matters concerned with laws centered around the worship of God. The worship of God was conducted by the tribe of Levi, and the end result was this book. Today’s reading is taken from a body of laws commonly called the Laws of Holiness. Holiness is the key theme of Leviticus, and the word “holy” appears more often in Leviticus than in any other book of the Bible. Israel was called to be totally consecrated to God. God reminded the people of Israel that he was “holy” and wanted them to be “holy” also, just like he was.
The same call is being made to us today, and that is to be holy like our God is holy. The holiness that is being called for must be expressed in every aspect of our lives. The holiness that our loving God is calling for must be visible in the way we treat our neighbors and, of course, the question always is, “Who is my neighbor?” Our neighbor is anyone who is in distress anywhere and needs our help.
Today’s reading calls for all of us to put aside our grudges and become people who forgive and forget. We are called to reason with our offending neighbor and try to bring him back to true brotherly fellowship in the Lord. The natural man wants to repay the offender back in full. The spiritual man who knows and loves God, must also be holy himself.
God’s call for us to be holy and to imitate HIM is not really a command; it is more like advice given by a very loving Father.
1 CORINTHIANS 3:16‑23
Paul is telling the people of Corinth, and the people living at the present time, that their bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and our church is the house of God. He goes on to say that our temples are not to be defiled. Satan has taken direct aim at the bodies of many Christians, and their temples have become defiled with alcohol, drugs, cigarette smoking, and sexual immorality. Our church is not to be spoiled by divisions within it through bickering, pettiness, jealousy, slandering, and false teachings, as its members come together to worship God.
Paul is telling the people that they have to choose between worldly wisdom or heavenly wisdom. Worldly wisdom that holds us back from God is no wisdom at all. Paul is telling us that some of the leaders of the community were caught up in pride and worldly wisdom, and the result was they valued their message more than its content.
Today, we can see a great deal of worldly wisdom being exercised in our nations and even in some areas of our church. Scripture tells us that God knows beyond any question how the human mind reasons and how foolish and desperate it is (1 Cor. 20). Paul closed by telling us that, as believers, all is for us and we belong to Christ.
To a believer in Christ, life and death become our servants. We know life’s true purpose; but to the non‑believers, only the latest trend in behavior is all they have. Non‑believers are like victims of life who are swept along by its current and wonder if there is a meaning to it. For Christians, death holds no terrors because Christ conquered them all. Because of Jesus, you and I will live forever.
Today’s Gospel reveals the core of the Christian life and the conduct which should separate Christians from all others. Jesus begins by citing the oldest law in the world ‑ an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. That was known as the “Lex Talionis” law and it came out of the Code of Hammorabi, who reigned in Babylon about 1700 years before Christ.
The law clearly stated that the injury a victim suffers shall be duplicated and suffered by the person who committed the crime. We find in today’s reading the Mosaic law “an eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth” (Exodus 21:24) a subtle change.
This law was the beginning of mercy because it deliberately limited vengeance. Jesus completely moved away from that law because retaliation or “getting even,” no matter how controlled or restricted, has no place in the life of his followers.
Jesus establishes a spirit of non‑resentment and abolishes the concept of even limited vengeance. Today, Jesus is calling us to hear his message that in order to be one of his followers, we have to learn to resent no insult and to seek no vengeance. We are to be like Jesus, and forget what it is to be insulted, and not to respond with vengeance but with love. Jesus never insisted to stand on his rights. In fact, he did not consider himself as having any legal rights at all (Philippians 2:3‑4). The Christian who really follows Christ does not think of his rights, but of his duties. He does not think of his privileges; instead, he thinks of his responsibilities. Jesus strikes at the core of our belief by showing that our actions really demonstrate what we believe. Do you show disgust when someone requests that you do a menial task? Do you feel insulted when you do a good job and no one recognizes what you did? Do you work with some inefficient workers? Do you work with an ungracious helper?
Jesus calls us to respond only with love and he tells us that he will give us all that we need when we are tempted to respond otherwise (1 Cor. 10:13). Jesus’ response, in today’s reading, is that whatever we do to the least of his brothers and sisters, we do unto him (Matthew 25:31‑46).
The first reading is a call to holiness, and the second reading calls us to remember that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. The Gospel reveals that Christians do not have to “get even.” Let us, this week, show that our call to holiness is being answered with a “yes” by attending Mass as often as we can and to be modest in the way we dress and in the way we talk.
We can respond to the person who irritates us with Christian love instead of pagan retaliation. Let us be kind and gentle to everyone we meet and, individually, be prepared for some “neat” miracles to happen!