The First Reading is from the Book of Leviticus. In this brief passage, the writer reminds his fellow Israelites of their call to live a holy life. This is the command given to us by God through Moses: “Be holy, for I the Lord, your God, am holy.” A life of holiness is manifested through acts of love, mercy and kindness, particularly towards those who have hurt us. It also shows us the way to share in God’s holiness: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
The Second Reading is from St. Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians. St. Paul gives us an additional reason to be holy. We are to keep our bodies and souls holy because we are the temples of the Holy Spirit,
and the Holy Spirit lives in us. For this is what God wants of us; to be so closely united with Him that He in fact dwells within us and then, he will guide us through the rough roads of daily life.
The Gospel Reading is from the Gospel of Matthew. This is a continuation of the great Sermon on the Mount, which is considered an “instruction manual” for “How to Be Happy in This World.” Jesus begins by explaining to the people of his time and he wants us to go the “extra mile” and “turn the other cheek.” Well, not exactly! What he is saying is to forgive an insult gracefully and, so, convert the offender. Jesus commands that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us to prove that we are children of a merciful Heavenly Father.