Be holy, for I, the Lord, your God, am Holy. 19Feb17

Wikipedia (not my first choice for a reliable, accurate, reference but this time it will do) defines “soft-sell” as a “campaign that uses a more subtle, casual or friendly message.” Investopedia calls it a practice “denoted by subtle language… designed to avoid angering (buyers) and pushing them away.” I guess this technique was not known when Jesus walked the earth 🙂 preaching and “selling” His message of repentance, that is, of course, unless we describe His message, in the words of St. Paul, speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15), as a “soft-sell.”

The word, holy, comes from combining two Greek words, one indicating separation and the other meaning consecration or dedication. To be holy is to separate myself from worldly things and to consecrate myself to God and be dedicated to the things of God. That’s not easy as we hear the “not-so-soft-sell” words of Jesus in the Gospel. To apply His message we must look at one more word.

Convert or conversion comes from combining two Latin words, vertere, “turn,” and, cum, “with.” To convert is to turn with a belief or person or teaching. In our Christian sense, conversion indicates turning with and following Jesus and His teachings. A quick examination of our lives will help us recognize that this is not a once-and-for-all change but a continuous, moment-to-moment process.

In today’s first reading, God gives His people the commandment to avoid retribution toward those who are mean to them. Jesus takes it one step further as He tells us that it is not enough to avoid retribution; we must be kind and generous to those who hate us. Now, holy means to be proactive toward others, even our enemies!

St. Paul, today, reminds us of our Baptismal rebirth: Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? For us, holiness, is not optional.

Sorry, there is no way to “soft-sell” it.

Deacon Richard


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