“Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord, God Almighty!” So begins the familiar Christian hymn. Of course, the Sanctus, which is said or sung at every Mass, also begins with a three-fold “Holy”. This reflects an idiosyncrasy of the Hebrew language. In English (and in most languages) there is a simple way of expressing the comparative and the superlative. For instance: this is good, that is better, and this is best of all. But Hebrew – the language of the ancient Israelites and of the Old Testament – uses a different means to express this. Hebrew simply repeats the adjective twice to give emphasis, and three times to give the greatest emphasis. So, rather than say that God is the “Holiest”, they say God is “Holy, Holy, Holy!” This is expressed especially in the Book of the prophet Isaiah and the Book of Revelation. In fact, the Sanctus in the Mass is taken from those two sources. So, when the sacred scriptures (in today’s first reading) say “Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy”, it is an exhortation for us to become more like God; or to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father, is perfect” (today’s Gospel). Now, left to ourselves, this is an impossible task. That is why we pursue holiness, but it is God who will make us holy.
Lent is quickly approaching - Ash Wednesday is this Wednesday, February 26. I will be burning palms fol- lowing the 10:00am Mass today (Sunday). Taken from these burned palms, the ashes placed on our heads are a physical sign of the spiritual journey we embrace every Lent. You should receive soon (or al- ready have received) my Lenten Pastoral letter, which has the full calendar of events in our parish, as well as the Communal Penance schedule for all the parishes in the WI Rapids deanery. Lord, help us to become holy! Help us to follow Your Son during these 40 days of Lent!
May God bless you!
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