Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18
1. “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” Does the Lord tell us what holiness is? What does this reading say about being holy? Is holiness related to how we interact with others?
2. If all of us “loved our neighbors as ourselves” do you think there would be wars, prisons, hunger and poverty? One way the Lord says to love our neighbor is “You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart. … Cherish no grudge against any of your people.” Is this an easy thing to do? Have you tried it? Will you try again? Is grace (the Spirit of God dwelling in you) there to help you?
1 Corinthians 3:16-23
1. St. Paul says “the Spirit of God dwells in you.” Do you remember this? How about when you have important decisions to make? Or when you are in serious trouble? When good things happen? Or is that not very often?2. He also says “ ... for the temple of God, which is you, is holy.” And is your neighbor holy too? If this is the case, do you treat all the people in your life as though they are holy temples?
1. Why would Jesus tell you to “Love your enemies?” Who can do that? Did Jesus tell us about a new revolutionary kind of acting when he showed us how to love our enemies? How far was he willing to go for them with his radical self-emptying? How far was the Father willing to go for his children?
2. Pope Francis speaks about the “extremism of charity.” Why does he say it is the heart of the Gospel?
… Having been touched by love, we are called to love without waiting for others to love first. … Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. This is the Christian innovation. It is the Christian difference. Pray and love: this is what we must do; and not only with regard to those who love us, not only with regard to our friends or our own people. The love of Jesus knows no boundaries or barriers. The Lord demands of us the courage to have a love that does not count the cost. … Yet his commandment of love is not simply a challenge; it is the very heart of the Gospel. Where the command of universal love is concerned, let us not accept excuses or preach prudent caution. The Lord was not cautious; he did not yield to compromises. He asks of us the extremism of charity. This is the only legitimate kind of Christian extremism: the extremism of love.