With the great season of Lent just a week and a half away the scriptures for this Seventh Sunday in Winter Ordinary Time provide us with a reminder of why this time of grace is so important for us. Lent is a time when we buckle down and intensify our efforts to get on board with the call to holiness. It is a time that reminds us that all of our days, every moment of our existence must be an embrace of the gift of holiness that makes us who we are.
Called to life, we are also called "to be holy as the Lord our God is Holy". That call to holiness is integral to our DNA as children of God. The reason, rooted in God's love for us, is that first we are make in the image and likeness of God, a divine image of blessedness that reflects the countenance of the Creator; and second, as Paul reminds the Corinthians, God also invests himself in us by pouring his Spirit, the Spirit of holiness, into our beings, giving us the heart of God and the love that allows us to truly be Christ for others.
The "how" of attaining this holiness is well within our grasp, and despite the challenges and temptations that an imperfect world places before us, is attainable. We must embrace the law of God and write it on our hearts. That law is love. All of the other laws given for our guidance are directional signs that point to living in Christ and living for Christ. We must go the extra mile in fleshing out the reality of a Christ filled life of faith and love and service. If asked to go one mile, go two. If asked for your tunic, give your cloak as well. Love not only your friends, but also your enemies. Offer no resistance to harm, but turn the other cheek. Difficult things in a self centered world, but essential responses to the law of love that brings us to Christ. Today's reading are a challenge but also a reminder of the reason that we use a time like Lent to be ready to follow the Lord.