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Peculiarly His Own

Saturday of the First Week of Lent

Reading 1 Dt 26:16-19

Moses spoke to the people, saying:
"This day the LORD, your God,
commands you to observe these statutes and decrees.
Be careful, then,
to observe them with all your heart and with all your soul.
Today you are making this agreement with the LORD:
he is to be your God and you are to walk in his ways
and observe his statutes, commandments and decrees,
and to hearken to his voice.
And today the LORD is making this agreement with you:
you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you;
and provided you keep all his commandments,
he will then raise you high in praise and renown and glory
above all other nations he has made,
and you will be a people sacred to the LORD, your God,
as he promised."

Responsorial Psalm Ps 119:1-2, 4-5, 7-8

R. (1b) Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
Blessed are they whose way is blameless,
who walk in the law of the LORD.
Blessed are they who observe his decrees,
who seek him with all their heart.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
You have commanded that your precepts
be diligently kept.
Oh, that I might be firm in the ways
of keeping your statutes!
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!
I will give you thanks with an upright heart,
when I have learned your just ordinances.
I will keep your statutes;
do not utterly forsake me.
R. Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!

Verse Before the Gospel 2 Cor 6:2b

Behold, now is a very acceptable time;
behold, now is the day of salvation.

Gospel Mt 5:43-48

Jesus said to his disciples:
"You have heard that it was said,
You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.
But I say to you, love your enemies,
and pray for those who persecute you,
that you may be children of your heavenly Father,
for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good,
and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.
For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?
Do not the tax collectors do the same?
And if you greet your brothers and sisters only,
what is unusual about that?
Do not the pagans do the same?
So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."


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Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. Neither this work nor any part of it may be reproduced, distributed, performed or displayed in any medium, including electronic or digital, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

 

I don’t often use the word peculiar. It’s a funny one to roll off of the tongue. Peculiar. Not a word with the best connotations. I always think of the common definition: something a little off, strange, unusual, weird even. But because I am in graduate school to become an English teacher, I did something I advise my students to do often. I looked it up. The second definition, there under the one I know off-hand, is “belonging exclusively to.”

In today’s First Reading, Moses tells the Israelites they are to belong exclusively to God: “a people peculiarly His own.”

Exclusive is another one of those words I don’t often apply to my relationship with God. In the world of modern dating (something I am not good at), “exclusive” gets tossed around a lot. “Oh, you’ve been seeing each other for a while! Are you exclusive?”

At first glance, I am taken aback thinking of myself exclusively belonging to God. Am I not called to relationship and community no matter my vocation? Don’t I need to be open to people? But it’s not that complicated. If I am dating someone exclusively, I don’t cut everyone else out of my life. I still have my girlfriends and guy friends, my family, my students, my classmates, my coworkers, my BiS sisters—the list goes on. But I don’t date other people or flirt with other people. I am first committed to the person I am dating, exclusively.

Exclusivity with God means that He is the first one I turn to—because I am peculiarly His own. Before the guys I date, before my family, before my students. First, I am God’s.

Examine your heart today. Is God first?

Brigid Hogan is a midwestern graduate student who finds peace in lakes, the Mass, and fiction when she isn’t ensconced in schoolwork. Find out more about her here.

2 Comments

  • Reply
    Eliza
    March 11, 2017 at 3:49 am

    I have always struggled with the command to “be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.” It seems like such a tall order and I’m not even really much of a perfectionist to begin with. Yet, in light of your reflection, Brigid, I am praying today for the grace to grow each day more perfect in loving God in this peculiar and exclusive way. In the same way that I am (and each one of us is) first in His heart, so I need to have Him first in mine. Only by doing so will I ever be close enough to God to learn how to love Him and His beloved people more perfectly. By allowing God first place in my heart, He is able to lead from the front and guide me to love those around me and beyond my little social circle with something that is working toward reflecting His infinite love. Praise God for His patience and exclusive approach to teaching each of us to be more like Him!

  • Reply
    Ingrid
    March 11, 2017 at 9:31 am

    I looked up the passage with “peculiar” in it in a few translations and we are:a dearly held treasure, special, treasured possession and accepted. Wow. God loves me even when I’m unlovable….thank you for today’s reading <3

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