The Lord told Moses in Leviticus this morning (Lv 19:1-2,11-18) to tell the people "Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy." Then he gives them the commandments of the law to follow.
We are called to be holy as the Lord our God is holy. But what comes first? Does our holiness depend upon our fulfilling the checklist of the commandments. If all are checked, then holiness is granted. Or is our holiness a gift from God that we already possess through our call and our baptism, and the living out of the commandments is simply an affirmation and a result of our holiness lived well? Many would think that they have to "earn" the holiness offered, but I think that what we have to do is simply "live" that holiness through lives of love and service.
The Prayer Over the People for this Monday of the First Week of Lent is:
"Enlighten the minds of your people, Lord, we pray,
with the light of your glory,
that they may see what must be done
and have the strength to do what is right.
Through Christ our Lord."