In today’s opening reading we find the Lord saying to Moses, “Speak to the whole community and tell them: “Be holy, for I, the Lord your God am holy.”
Why is that so? Why do we have to be holy just because the Lord our God is holy?
Well, the reason we are bound to imitate God in holiness is that we have entered into a special covenant with him.
Now a covenant is a contract in which the parties exchange more than land or money. They exchange their selves.
There are two kinds of covenant swith which we are familiar: the marriage covenant and our covenant with God. In both the parties give themselves to each other.
For the marriage covenant the priest asks, “Have you come here freely, without reservation to give yourselves to each other?”
There is a difference in the way the Lord proposes our covenant with him. He states, “You will be my people, and I will be your God.”
Now, the a big difference between a husband and wife’s covenant with each other and our covenant with the Lord is that In the marriage covenant the parties equally promise to accommodate themselves to each other; but in our covenant with God we have to imitate him, but he does not promise to imitate.
People getting married enter into the Marriage Covenant, but our covenant with God has a different technical name. It is called a Suzerain Covenant. Back when there were kings and their subjects, the king had a suzerain relationship his subjects. The subjects were bound to wear the king’s livery, but the king was not bound to wear their rags. A suzerain covenant binds the lower party to imitate his or her Lord. Therefore, God tell us, “Be holy, because I, the Lord your God am holy,”
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