According to the Encyclopedia of Catholicism holiness is “a spiritual quality derived from participation in the life of God who is the source of all holiness.” The Modern Catholic Dictionary further states: “In the Old Testament the Hebrew Kadosch (holy) meant being separated from the secular or profane, or dedication to God’s service, as Israel was said to be holy because it was the people of God.”
In the 1st reading from the book of Leviticus we are told: “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” The 2nd Vatican Council called all people to holiness with these words: “All in the Church, whether they belong to the hierarchy or are cared for by it, are called to holiness, according to the apostle’s saying: ‘For this is the will of God, your sanctification’ (1 Th. 4:3),” (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 39). Like the Jewish people of old, we are called to holiness in a way that separates us from the secular or profane society in which we live. We are called to be leaven for the world, which gives rise to gospel values by the way we live and the values we profess.
May each of us respond to the call to holiness by doing these tasks. First, participate regularly in the life of God through frequent reception of the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation. Second, trying harder not to get caught up in the ways of our secular society, particularly things that degrade the body, which is the “temple of God” (second reading). Finally, by rededicating ourselves to God and to God’s service. “Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am holy.” May we use the upcoming Lenten season to grow in holiness and deepen our relationship with our God. Peace.