Saturday, Nov. 7th 2020

Saturday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Mass Readings


What does holiness look like?

My professor once asked this question to his class and he wrote all the responses from his students on a dry erase board. Seeing everything written with a blue marker on the board highlighted the fact that we all had expectations or preconceptions of what a holy person might look like, especially on the outside. Jesus encountered many people who appeared holy, namely, the scribes and Pharisees (the religious leaders of his time), but his critique of them was often rather scathing: “All their works are performed to be seen” (cf. Matthew 23:5) and, “You are like whitewashed tombs” (23:27).

I think one of the most attractive aspects of the holiness found in the saints was their unity of life. They were able to dedicate themselves to God and they showed both reverence in prayer, and also unity in their daily life. In a sense, they effectively carried out the great commandment of love of God and love of neighbor. Their lives were whole, consistent, and integrated—they were trustworthy in matters great and small.

Our tendency is to compartmentalize our lives and to try our best to serve two masters: both God and mammon, even though Jesus clearly tells us this is not possible. We act one way while we are at church, often very reverent and respectful, but later neglect opportunities for charity. Or, we prefer to use our mouths to spread gossip and detract from the good reputation of others, the same mouths that not long before we’re offering prayers to God. In our attempt to serve two masters, we disintegrate ourselves, we become preoccupied with money that leads us to greed and a lack of generosity in all of our actions.

Life in Christ is best exemplified when we rely on God’s grace and live with our words and actions are in harmony, when our lives are unified, whole, and honest; not suffering from interior conflict. In your prayer, approach God humbly asking that He give you a heart that truly follows in the light of His commandments.

Reflection Question: How is God inviting me to cooperate with His grace?

Reflection by Fr. Paul Sheller, OSB

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