Image by Sammy-Sander from Pixabay.  
Homily given at Christian Brothers College High School, Town and Country, Missouri.

Secret to Holiness


Sometimes when we think about how to become holy, we think it is a challenging endeavor. We need to to dramatic things. We need to go to foreign countries and be missionaries who risk their lives for the faith. While it may be that some will be called to live holiness in this way, the real truth is more simple. Today’s readings give the more important observation. The secret to holiness is to love.

Beloved, we love God because he first loved us. This is an often forgotten sentence spoken by God. We love not because we first choose to love, but rather because God first chose to love us. The secret to holiness is that simple. We love because we are loved. God loves us. God loves us more than we can ever know or understand. God loves us unconditionally.

God made us in His own image and likeness. That means that when we are at our best, we imitate God. We too can love, and we ultimately strive to love because God loves us. We are at our best when we strive to love and recognized that we are loved.

And so just imagine what the world would be like if we found ourselves really knowing and understanding this love of God. Imagine what would be the case if we chose to live in a way that showed we saw the presence of God in every person we meet. What if we treated every person as if they were Jesus, since Matthew 25 tells us this is so.

For this is what happens when we discover the secret is not really a secret. It is really a message that Jesus spoke over and over again. It is the message that underlies the Old Testament, and the Law and the Prophets as well. It is the reason that the Law forbade idols, because humans are made in the image and likeness of God.

And yet, when we do not live as if this is true, then what happens is that it appears that more and more the gospel seems like a secret. It seems like it is not the case that this is not what God has told us. Rather, it can even appear the opposite.

When we do not love God by loving our neighbor, but rather choose something else in place of the gospel and the Church to guide and shape our lives, then life is not so good. The gospel message gets clouded when political party supersedes the gospel. We make the gospel a secret when we do not show forth how much we value human beings.

When we dismiss others by calling them idiots, fools or stupid people, we make the gospel less effective and more secret. When we dismiss certain parts of the gospels or the bible because we do not like what the implications are for our life, we make the path to holiness more secret.

So just imagine how wonderful life could be if we made the path to holiness not just less secret, but lived it out in the open! What if we showed that the path to holiness is a realistic path if we sought and strove to let others now that it is possible to be holy.

That is clearly the challenge of our day. So, be sure you do not keep it a secret. Love God and neighbor, and show everyone just how wonderful God is by how it is you live your life!

Check out another homily here.

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