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THE LAWS OF HOLINESS

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time

“The LORD said to Moses, ‘Speak to the whole Israelite community and tell them: Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy. ‘You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart. Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD.’” (LEVITICUS 19:1-2, 17-18)


These readings from Leviticus speak about the laws of holiness. These are ethical areas of life that teach us justice, love and right behaviors for communal life. They are especially concerned with protecting the rights of the weak.

This is similar to what our Avera mission is about, making a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values. We are witness to those that are weak physically, mentally and spiritually. It speaks of loving my neighbor as myself and making God a first priority. It’s asking us to love more than those that smell good, look good, talk good, feel good, are strong, fit a certain mold, are a certain color, a certain religion, a certain sex, never sin or make mistakes, have the right behavior at all times, are considered wise and perfect. What if they don’t utter a word or you’ve never seen your neighbors?

We moved to a new community and only one neighbor’s family visited our home and voluntarily assisted us unpacking. What a blessing that was. We are still under construction and soon will have a kitchen counter top and no longer have to do dishes in our bathtub or make shift sink. Our inner selves are also under construction on a daily basis. Although it’s been five months, we have yet to see five other neighbors. I’m making it a point to go to them this weekend, bring bread or rolls and fruit and say hi! I also can make them feel welcome and make that first move to love them. We get so busy in our hurried lives that we divide ourselves from one another and the one who created us. The binding commandments, all 237 in Leviticus are there to mold us into a character of God’s divine purpose. We are to know that God is holy and not to be treated in just any old way. We are precious and our neighbors are precious. I believe this is what separates the sacred from the ordinary.


Dear Lord,

all kind and merciful.

Remind us of Your compassion so we can extend that same compassion

and love to our neighbors.


Paula Hunke-Davis
Respiratory Therapy, Avera St. Anthony's Hospital

LEVITICUS 19:1-2, 17-18 • PSALM 103:1-2, 3-4, 8, 10, 12-13 • MATTHEW 5:38-48

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