The call to holiness

Anne O’Brien reads today from the Gospel of Luke (11:37-41) in which Jesus is teaching us that it is more important what type of person we are on the inside than what we look like, the clothes we wear or the image we portray.

Anne says this speaks to the concept of holiness.  The pursuit of holiness is part of our Parish mission statement – The St Agnes’ Catholic Parish strives to make our vision a reality by a commitment to ‘Holiness in the image of Christ”.

Pope Francis also spoke specifically on the personal call to Holiness that the Lord addresses to each one of us and which He speaks about in today’s Gospel.  It is stated in the Vatican II documents ‘all the faithful, whatever their condition or state, are called by the Lord, each in his or her own way to that perfect holiness by which the Father is, himself, is perfect’.

Pope Francis encourages all of us to understand that the call to holiness is for everyone – parents who raise their children with love, men and women who work every day to support their families, senior members of the community who share their stories to the young and nurture young children. The Lord calls all to holiness.

Holiness is all about what is on the inside, what type of person we are.  The important thing to note is that each person attains holiness in his or her own way.  Whilst it is good to be inspired by the holiness we see in others, we should not simply try to copy them; we should discern; and make our own unique path so that we bring the best out of ourselves rather than merely imitate someone else. Our own holiness is borne out of living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.  In whatever situation we are in, we are called to be holy.

Pope Francis gave some very practical examples: in the way we care for each other in marriage; in the joyful living of a religious commitment; in our integrity in our work; in leading children to Jesus as parents and grandparents; so this call to holiness is not reserved for the ordained or religious people.  We should not be discouraged or think that we are not worthy or capable of holiness.

Anne reflects that we will all have our ups and downs and, sometimes, we may not be happy with what we do as we all make mistakes but we still follow that call to holiness.  If we stay close to our loving Father, keep being nourished by the messages in the Gospel, and pray to God, we will live our lives with love and bear witness to the faith.

Anne concludes today’s reflection, inviting us to join her in saying:
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.