what makes a person holy? Is it a title, a religious habit, ordination, or living in a monastery or convent? None if the above. The word “holiness” means being integrated and “whole.” Someone is holy who humbly follows the path God has chosen for them. And accepts one’s strengths and limitations. Holy people have no other desire than to live freely the life God has willed for them, refusing to compare their life with any other.
Holy people come in all shapes, sizes and walks of life. Like the prophet Jonah, we frequently encounter holiness in surprising, even shocking places. Jonah’s worldview was shattered when he witnessed the repentence and conversion of the ninevites, people he considered to be the enemy. He tried to run away from God who wanted him to preach to these people Jonah felt superior to.
Be careful about running away from God…you may end up in the belly of a big fish, perhaps a whale!! Jonah learned the hard way that God is to be encountered in the least likely of places. God can even be encountered when we make mistakes, ending up being swallowed up by a monster fish! Yes, God was there with Jonah in the belly of the whale. After the whale spit him out, perhaps through indigestion, Jonah ended up in the beach and God led him to the city of Nineveh where he preached a message of conversion. Jonah, himself, had the biggest change of heart when the God he so loved broke through the box Jonah had contained Him in.
You are a person created in God’s image and you are called to become holy. May people encounter God in YOU…and in the encounter, holiness is exchanged and the world is transformed, encounter by encounter.
Peace. Fr. Frank