Seventh Sunday in Ordinary time
1 Corinthians 3:16-23
There is a saying that hurt people hurt people and the readings for today address this head-on. People of faith are called to stop the cycle of violence by doing two things: learning not to hate and loving those whose who have hurt us or who we consider our enemies. These are the ways that we are called to live as children of God whose love is for all people – particularly those we find it hard to love.
Leviticus calls us to be holy as God is holy. This does not mean being pious, sanctimonious, holier than thou, or somehow separated from the world or others. It means to be like God, and this is nowhere more apparent than in the call to be in right relationship with other members of the community. Not hating a brother or sister when they have sinned against you is challenging enough. Leviticus takes matters even further by reminding us of our responsibility to take the risk of pointing out to them what needs to be healed or changed. It’s easy to fall into the trap of speaking behind someone’s back, endlessly complaining to others, and holding on to our hurts. In our hearts, we know that this doesn’t change anything. What we need is the courage and trust to actually name issues and so take the first and necessary steps to resolve them. Jesus calls us to stop the cycle of violence by not seeking to retaliate, loving our enemies and praying for them.
Fr. Chris Monaghan CP, lectures in the New Testament and is President of Yarra Theological Union. He is a member of the Passionist community of Holy Cross in Templestowe.