Sunday, February 19, 2017 Seventh Sunday after Epiphany / Lectionary 7 Introduction
In today’s first reading we hear, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” Yet we know we cannot achieve perfection. Our attempts to love neighbors and even our enemies fall short of what God desires for us. Yet in Jesus we see one who loved even those who persecuted and killed him. We are made holy in baptism, and forgiven at the table of God’s mercy. As a people made holy by God, we go in peace to love as we have been loved.
First Reading: Leviticus 19:1-2, 9-18
The Holiness Code in Leviticus urges people to be holy since God is holy. Holiness is lived out in partiality for and consideration of the poor and the weak. We are to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Psalm: Psalm 119:33-40
Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes. (Ps. 119:33)
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 3:10-11, 16-23
Jesus Christ is the foundation of the church and its ministry. We are God’s temple because God’s Spirit dwells in us, and we belong to Christ. Hence we are called to build wisely upon this sure foundation not for our own benefit but for others to experience Christ’s benefits.
Gospel: Matthew 5:38-48
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declares an end to the law of vengeance. God’s people will respond to evil with love and forgiveness.