FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE CALL TO HOLINESS
CALLED TO HOLINESS
July 31, 2016
We are called to holiness. Now, not to respond to this call is dangerous, because not to move forward along the path God desires for us is to risk losing our way. After all, the world entices us, the devil lures us, and our flesh gives in easily.
For example, the world is all about materialism and financial success. Many quickly fall into greed, not being content with the good that they have, but wanting more and more. Jesus says, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, on’e life does not consist of possessions.” (Lk 12:15). Not working to grow in holiness can bring us to working to have more of worldly things. For the rich man who had a bountiful harvest, that was disastrous. He thought he could now rest secure in his possessions, but God called him a fool, investing in something he could not take with him beyond this life. So will it be for anyone who looks to worldly goods than to God. “Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.” (Lk 12:21).
In fact, the wisdom books of the Old Testament tell us about how pursuit after worldly things will in the end be in vain. Qoheleth says he “undertook great works” (Eccl 2:4a), had great wealth (Eccl 2:8), satisfied his every human desire (Eccl 2:10), but in the end considered it all in vain. “But when I turned to all the words that my hands had wrought, and to the fruit of the toil for which I had toiled so much, see! all was vanity and a chase after wind.” (Eccl 2:11).
We are not created for the world. Our lives are not to be spent just indulging ourselves or accumulating worldly possessions. There is a higher purpose. We in fact are set apart. We are to be in the world but not of it. That is what holiness is about. “Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.” (Col 3:2).
What does holiness consist of? It is a rejection of the world and its values. “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.” (Col 3:5). It is a turning away from our old sinful ways. “But now you must put them all away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your mouths.” Col 3:8). Since it is about being set apart, it means being a new person renewed in Christ. It is to “have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.” (Col 3:9-10).
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