Saturday, January 18, 2020

Called to be Holy

Message in a Minute for Jan 19:
I once heard a quote from Michelangelo about his famous statue, David.  Someone asked him how he made such an impressive statue, and he said, “easy, the statue was inside the marble before I worked on it, I just had to chip away the stone that wasn’t David.”  The statue was already there inside the marble, he just had to chip off the extra.  I think this is a good way to look at our lives as Christians.  We already have this identity, this calling, it’s just up to us to live it out, to chip away everything that is not part of our calling. 
The second reading this week has a similar kind of message.  Paul starts by saying who he is: Paul, called to be an apostle, by the will of God.  So, Paul did not decide to be an apostle.  Rather, he is following God’s will.  God decided that Paul should be an apostle; Paul, is just living out that calling.  What about the people?  Paul says, “to the Church of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be holy.”  Now, this is a little bit sloppy in the translation.  What Paul is doing there is actually quite simple.  He says:  These people have already been made holy by Christ (sanctified), and now they are called to be holy.  
During the rest of the letter, Paul has a number of problems to address with the community.  But, it all begins with God’s work.  God has already made them holy.  God has sanctified them through the power of the sacraments, especially baptism and the Holy Eucharist.  Paul writes to them to correct their behavior because their behavior is not in keeping with who they are as Christians.  Like Michelangelo, he’s trying to help chip away everything that is not the well-formed statue.
On the day of our baptism, God made us holy.  He changed us forever.  We have been marked with a seal that cannot be removed.  He touched us, made us holy.  Now, the rest of our lives is all about living out that holiness.  Just like that beautiful statue in the marble.  We are already holy because we have been touched by God.  Now, it’s up to us to figure out what doesn’t belong.  We have been made holy by Christ, now we are called to be holy, to live holy lives.

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Saturday, December 28, 2019

Holy Family

Message in a Minute for Dec 29:
Today we celebrate the feast day of the Holy Family.  A day when we remember and venerate the blessed family from Nazareth, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.  I think that the Holy Family is one of the most important feasts for our daily lives, because, last time I checked, every one of us was born into a family.  Every family is different.  We all have the crazy uncle, the angry sibling, the odd circumstance.  We all see difficulties and obstacles in our families. So, when we look at the Holy Family it might be quite easy to just write it off: that’s it, of course they are holy, one is the son of God, one is the Immaculate Conception, and the last was known as a righteous man and is remembered as a saint.  Of course, they are going to be a holy family, we don’t have a shot.  
In some ways this is true.  None of our children are the incarnate word of God, none of us are the Immaculate Conception.  Still, all of our families are called to be Holy Families.  All of us are called to be Holy, we all live in families… therefore, our families are supposed to be holy.  How do we get there?
Let’s turn to the Holy Family for inspiration.  In the Holy Family we see a blueprint for holiness in the family.  First, there is a tremendous trust in God.  Mary was approached by the angel and she says yes to God’s will.  Joseph was approached by the angel in today’s gospel and he says yes to God’s will.  
Now, we probably don’t receive divine messages by angelic messengers, but each of us are called to know God’s will, to seek him in our daily lives, to grow close to him, to trust in him, to allow him to aid and guide us in our decisions.  This is especially true in our family lives.  Each and every member of the family can draw close to God.  Each of us can grow in our life of prayer.  We should lean on God and ask him for direction and guidance.  But, we should also pray for our families.  Each day we should pray for the members of our family, by name.  Each day we should thank God for the members of our family, by name.  Each day we should pray for guidance, bring our specific issues, problems, and circumstances to God.  Name them, pray for them, be open to God’s guidance.  Just think what family life would be like if each and every member of every Christian family spent some time every day praying for the good of the whole family.  I think it could be life changing.  So, the lesson from the Holy Family, is that each member of the family needs to trust God and grow close to him.

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Saturday, December 21, 2019

4th Sunday of Advent

Message in a Minute for December 22nd:

Today is the last Sunday of Advent.  Our season of patient waiting is almost over.  In just a few days, we will celebrate the birth of Christ our Savior.  In these last few days, we hear the “O” antiphons at Mass.  These antiphons are prayed during the Alleluia.  These antiphons have been used since the 8th century.  Each of the antiphons invites the Lord to come to us, but does so by using Old Testament imagery.  These have been turned into the Advent hymn “O come, O come, Emmanuel.”  So, as we come to the end of the Advent, “Emmanuel” becomes our focus.  
I had the fortune of studying ancient Hebrew for one year.  I certainly am not an expert at the language.  But, it helped me to see how Hebrew constructs words.  Very often, words will be joined together.  For example, the word for God is “EL.”  But, to say “my God” one simply says “ELI”.  My and God are joined together into one word.  The same thing is happening for “Emmanuel.”  EM means “with”, MANU “us”, EL “God”.  So, Emmanuel is three words all joined together: God With Us.  
Emmanuel is a simple word, and yet the ramifications are tremendous.  “God with us” is an amazing proclamation of faith.  God is not far and distant; God is near and close.  Though we cannot see God, we know that he is near.  The child of Bethlehem proclaims this simply fact: Emmanuel.
Adam and Eve sinned and lost their friendship with God.  We do the same when we commit our sins.  Sin causes us to drift away from God.  Yet, God overcomes the distance.  God closes the gap that was caused by Original Sin.  Jesus Christ truly is Emmanuel: God with us.  This one-word changes everything.  

Take a few moments this week before the craziness of Christmas goes into full effect.  Pray the O Antiphon for Sunday and ask Jesus Christ, Emmanuel to come and be our savior: Antiphon for December 23: O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law: come to save us, Lord our God!

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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Gaudete Sunday

Message in a Minute for December 15:

Today has always been one of my favorite days of the liturgical year.  This is Gaudete Sunday.  It is one of my favorite days, not because I get to wear these fancy Rose vestments (ok maybe they are pink…), but because we light our third candle.  This Gaudete Sunday is a signal the Christmas is coming soon.  Indeed, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas with cold in the air and decorations on people’s houses.  The day is quickly coming.  So today is a day of Joy, amidst our patient waiting of Advent.  I think this mirrors our life in many ways.
It is certainly true that there is a great deal of patient waiting in this life.  We wait in our cars, we wait in our homes, we wait at banks, restaurants, you name it.  There is a great deal of waiting.  In fact, I think that the modern parent probably spends half of his/her life sitting in a car waiting on kids.  I know that I don’t like to wait, I’m not very patient, I like things to happen right away.  But, what makes waiting bearable is always what is at the other end.  As long as we keep our goal in sight, we are able to wait with patience.
The same is true in our life of faith.  We are in the season of Advent, which asks us to patiently wait for the coming of Christ at Christmas, but also prepares us for the arrival of Christ when he will come again.  Sometimes life seems all too full of waiting for God that we might tend toward losing our patience.  This is why we need to keep the goal in our sights.
This week’s Rose vestments help us to do this with Christmas.  This symbol is a blending of the purple of Advent and the white of Christmas.  It is almost like Christmas is starting to break through the purple of Advent.  So, by setting our sights on the end, which is Christmas, it fills us with joy as we continue to wait.
It shouldn’t be any different as we prepare to meet Christ on the last day.  The joy of his coming should break into our daily lives, filling them with joy as well.  Let’s keep a lookout for all the times that we catch a glimpse of the joy of God’s kingdom breaking into our lives.  These glimpses help us to stay patient as we await the fullness of the kingdom of God.

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Hello everyone,

I don't know how many people access this blog.  I know that I don't update it that frequently except for my homilies.  Well, I've been switching to a new kind of communication source.  I call this the Message in a Minute.  I'm using a service called Flocknote, which will send the MIM to email or text.  So, I've decided to discontinue this blog and switch everything over to MIM.  You can sign up for the MIM using the contact info below.  Also, I will post the MIM here for a few weeks to help the transition.  Thanks for reading this blog and I hope we continue to be in contact.

God bless,
Fr Jake

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Sunday, December 8, 2019

Good grain

2nd Sunday of Advent year A 2019 2:
St John the Baptist gives us an interesting image in the gospel today.  We hear that the coming messiah will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  When I hear that I think of the sacrament of baptism.  We are baptized with the Holy Spirit and give the baptismal candle, the fire that represents Jesus.  But, then he says that the messiah will have the winnowing fan and he will clear the threshing floor.  This sounds like an image of the second coming, when Jesus will gather all his disciples to himself.  This threshing image is interesting, and we probably don’t think about it too often.
When I was in seminary, I was fortunate enough to take some classes in Greek.  As you probably know, the New Testament is all written in Greek.  I find it fascinating to read the Bible in the original language, because all translations have their limitation.  Now, it just so happened that this passage was one of the verses that we studied in our Greek class.  In fact, we all had to take turns reading the Greek out loud as we worked along with the translation.  Now, as you can imagine, the word “winnowing fan” is not a very common word.  And to make matters worse, it’s kind of a weird word to pronounce.  The Greek word is “ptuon”.  My friend John, who is a priest in Charlotte diocese, was reading out loud when we came to that word.  And he sort of butchered it.  So, the professor corrected him.  Then John went ahead and tried again.  Another failure and another correction.  He tried a third time and still was unable to say it.  So, the professor misunderstood John’s problem.  He thought he couldn’t remember that ptuon meant winnowing fan.  So, he stopped class and went to the chalkboard.  He drew a big picture of what a winnowing fan looks like, and he went into a 10-minute discussion on how a winnowing fan works.  My poor friend John was quite embarrassed.  And as his good friends, we all gave him grief, of course.
But, that lesson really came back to me this week as I was praying and reflecting on that image of the winnowing fan.  This is how it worked.  All the grain would be out on the threshing floor.  The winnowing fan is like a big pitchfork.  The farmer grabs the grain and tosses it into the air with the winnowing fan.  As it’s falling back down to the earth, the wind catches all the parts of the grain that are light and fluffy, like the stalk and the covering of the grain, while the grain, which is heavier, falls back down to the earth.  It’s a pretty ingenious way to separate the wheat from the chaff.  Nowadays we do all this with our big machines.  But, in the ancient days, this would be one of the methods used to purify the grain.  
Now, John the Baptist says that the Messiah is going to do that with the human race.  He is going to separate the wheat from the chaff, and he will do so with his ptuon, his winnowing fan.  So, we all want to be the grain, right?  Not the chaff.  We want to be gathered into the Lord’s barn and not burned in the fire.  
So, what do we need to do?  We need to become nice and heavy so that when the wind blows, we fall back down.  Now, I’m tempted to say that we should all just eat lots of Christmas cookies and we will get nice and heavy.  But, that’s not the kind of heavy we are talking about.  Rather, we need to become substantial.  In our character, in our conduct, in our actions, we need to be people of substance.  To me, there is nothing lighter and more insubstantial than sin, selfishness, ego, pride, etc.  These things are light and fluffy, and they will be carried away by the wind.  But, charity, goodness, kindness, love, these things are substantial and heavy.  These won’t be blown away by the wind.  
So, in our prayer this week, we can ask God to show us the places where we are light and fluffy, we want these to be blown away by the wind of the Holy Spirit.  And we can ask God to help us increase in our goodness, kindness, love, and humility.  These are the heavy things that will last.  Advent is a time to be ready for the ptuon of Christ.  May we become good grain, gathered into the Lord’s keeping.

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Run forth to meet Christ

1st Sunday of Advent Year A 2019:
Advent is upon us.  This weekend we light the Advent wreathe and we enter into the season of patient waiting for Christ.  We await the celebration of Christ’s birth at Christmas.  But, even more, we use this as a time of waiting for Christ when he comes again.  And he will come for each of us.  At the end of time or the end of our lives, whichever comes first, we will experience the Advent of Jesus Christ.  So, this season of Advent is our yearly reminder to prepare for the coming of Christ.
Notice that the first 2 weeks of Advent focus on the coming of Christ on the last day.  In today’s second reading and gospel, we are told to be awake, ready, prepared for Christ’s coming.  The final two Sundays of Advent will focus more on the birth of Christ and the feast of Christmas.  
Jesus gives us this interesting image: awake.  We should be awake and alert for the coming of Christ. Now, this doesn’t mean that we are supposed to stay up all night every night.  We would go crazy.  Rather, our spiritual life should reflective and aware, open to God’s presence in the world and in our lives.  What is the difference between being awake and being asleep?  When we are asleep, we are vulnerable, we are no longer aware, no longer in control.  Even in our dreams, we are unable to control things or participate in a meaningful way.   One of the recurring dreams that I have is one where it’s time for Mass and I can’t find the page in the book.  This is a crazy and stressful dream because I’m unable to control things and I have the feeling of being unprepared.
Well I thought of this dream when Jesus told us to be awake and alert.  When we are awake, we are aware of what’s going on around us, we can act, we can prepare, we can participate in the life we live.  I think this is why Jesus gave us this image in the gospel.  Being “awake” in the faith means being aware of God’s presence.  It means preparing ourselves to meet God.  It means that we become active participants in the work of salvation.  
I really like how the opening prayer for today’s mass puts it: grant you faithful, we pray, almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ with righteous deeds at his coming.  This is what it means to be awake and alert.  It means that we are not simply waiting around for Christ to come back.  It means that we are running forth to meet him.  How?  By our righteous deeds.  
Let me recommend 2 righteous deeds.  Do something charitable this Advent.  Maybe it’s the parish giving tree.  Maybe it’s a donation to our St. Vincent De Paul society.  Maybe it’s another charity that you want to support.  We can run forth to meet Christ by giving in charity.  Second, learn something new this Advent.  Don’t be stale in your faith.  Learn something new.  Go to the bookstore and find a good Catholic book.  Maybe it’s on one of the saints, or one of the sacraments.  If you would rather do something online, go to Set up an account and commit to working through one of the video series’ online.  Our first reading says: from Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.  Take some time this Advent to learn from the Lord.  This too, is a great way to run toward Christ, whom we await during this prayerful season of Advent.
Advent is a time of waiting.  But, not a time of sleeping.  Awake, let us run forth to meet Christ our Lord.

Saturday, November 16, 2019


33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time year C 2019:
As we get close to the end of the liturgical year, we always here these apocalyptic messages in the scriptures.  Jesus predicts the destruction of the temple.  He talks about signs, deceivers, wars, insurrections, nations rising against nation, earthquakes, famines, plagues, awesome and mighty signs, persecution, even being handed over by your family members.  In the midst of all these horrible things, what are we supposed to do?  Do not be deceived, do not be terrified, persevere.  Easier said than done right?  But, so important.  Perseverance is one of the most important virtues to develop as a Christian.  Why?  We will be challenged, we will be persecuted, we will be tempted.  It might seem easy to follow Jesus when things are going well, but what do we do in times of adversity?
As I was reflecting on the list of calamities that Jesus describes in the gospel, I got to thinking: my problems are all way smaller than that.  War, famine, plagues?  Not exactly, too many emails to answer, too many cases to judge in the tribunal, weather turning cold.  And yet, I find persevering in these much smaller things to be difficult enough already.  How would I handle earthquakes and war?  Probably not too well.
But, it’s precisely through the little things in life that prepare us for the big things.  Those smaller moments are what help us to build up perseverance.  If we are hoping to remain faithful in the big moments of life, it starts by being faithful in all the small moments.
I think St. Paul is a great example for us here.  St. Paul had some amazing moments in his life.  Christ spoke to him and called him to be his disciple.  He preached the gospel.  He was persecuted, arrested, he even gave his life as a martyr.  This is why we know about him as a great saint.  He was tremendously valiant in the big moments of life.  Yet, what does he say to the Thessalonians?  When I was with you, I worked night and day in toil and drudgery so that I might not be a burden to you.  His final advice: keep busy and work quietly in the Lord.
St. Paul teaches us amazing courage in the hugely momentous events of his life.  But, he also shows that the way for him to prepare for those huge moments was to work quietly and contentedly for the Lord.  It was the daily toil of working for the Lord that prepared him for the big moments of life.  
This is so true for us too.  If we are going to persevere in the grand moments, we need to work on being faithful in the small moments.  If we want to make an offer of our life to God, then we need to give him the random Tuesdays of life too.  Do not be terrified, do not be deceived, persevere.  Not just in the big moments, but the small moments of life too.
If you are ever struggling with the daily toils of life, I would recommend praying the 4th sorrowful mystery of the rosary.  The rosary is my favorite personal devotion, and I like the 4th mystery the best: Jesus carries his cross.  The other sorrowful mysteries talk about momentous events in the Lord’s passion: agony, scourging, crowning, crucifixion.  These are big moments.  Carrying of the cross is the quiet mystery.  It’s the journey between the big moments.  
So, we can look to Christ who carried his cross.  He patiently went one step at a time.  St. Paul patiently worked between his big moments.  The same is a great lesson for us.  We can grow in our perseverance and be ready for the big moments in life if we work quietly in the Lord and carry our crosses daily.

Saturday, November 9, 2019


32nd Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C 2019:
I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting, AMEN.  You and I pray these words every Sunday when we recite the creed.  And how much do we think about these words?  Yet, this teaching is important for two reasons: it gives us hope in the midst of our sufferings and it gives us hope for the faithful departed.  
Our belief in the resurrection begins with Jesus.  He was the first to rise.  We not only believe in the resurrection as some future possibility, we already believe that Jesus is raised and lives forever.  We say that we believe in the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting because it is a true reality: Christ is living it right now.  Even more, all those who believe in him will experience the same kind of life: resurrection and life everlasting. 
But, what do we do with this of the Sadducees?  They talk about a woman who lost 7 husbands and who will she be married to in all eternity?  What’s really going on under this question?  First, they reject resurrection.  Second, they think that what they are rejecting is that resurrection is just like this life.
If resurrection and eternal life is just more of this life, then who of us would really want to sign up for that?  I know I wouldn’t.  Every time winter starts to set in, I start to look forward to eternal life where it never gets cold.  This life is full of pain, misery, suffering, and sadness.  If the resurrection is just waking up to more of this kind of living, then count me out.  
But, Jesus says something amazing: they are like angels, they are the children of God.  They will be like angels.  Certainly, that means that something major is going on here.  Jesus is saying that eternal life is completely different from this life that we experience.  This is something new, something more.  We profess each week that we believe in the resurrection of the Body.  And we see that when Jesus was raised from the dead, he still had his body.  But, it was different.  His body did not need food, but he ate anyway.  His body could walk through locked doors.  His body was not recognized on the way to Emmaus.  
So, we believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.  This is not just more of the same kind of life that we have now.  But, what, exactly, will it be like?  Sorry, I can’t really help you there.  Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has in store for those who love him.  Jesus tells us that it will be pretty amazing.  But, we will just have to wait for the details.  But, the promise of eternal life should fill us with hope in the midst of our sufferings.  
Also, we commend all our departed brothers and sisters to the grace and power of God’s mercy.  We pray that they are experiencing eternal life even now.   True, the resurrection of the body will take place all at once.  But, the saints and holy ones already share in the eternal life of the kingdom.
So, to summarize, Jesus declares quite boldly that there is a resurrection and eternal life.  This is important for two reasons.  First, this should fill us with hope and joy.  We experience pain and suffering in this life.  But, this life will end and be replaced with a new life that is more amazing than we can possibly imagine.  So, don’t be afraid to look forward to heaven sometimes when life feels tough.  Second, when we mourn the loss of our family and friends.  We know that we hand them over to God’s loving embrace.  We pray that they experience the peace of eternal life even right now at this moment.  
The words: I believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting, are words of hope for us and for our loved ones.  So, when we profess our creed each week, may these words fill us with hope in eternal life.  

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Come on down...

31st Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C 2019:
Today’s gospel story is just such a great and inspirational story.  It’s so vivid too.  It’s easy to imagine little Zacchaeus climbing up the tree to see Jesus.  Imagine Jesus looking up there at him.  He probably looks a little bit ridiculous.  And Jesus simply invites him: come down, I’m staying with you today.  Zacchaeus is so moved by Jesus’ invitation that he pledges to give away half his property.  Half!  Talk about an amazing response to Jesus’ simple invitation.
So, this is a beautiful story and an inspirational one.  But, notice that at the end of the gospel Jesus has a brief statement that shows that the story of Zacchaeus has far-reaching implications.  Jesus says: the son of man has come to seek and save what was lost.  In other words, Zacchaeus embraces the call of Christ and becomes his disciple.  But, he is also an image for all of us.  Jesus came to seek and to save what was lost.  This includes the whole human race.  Each one of us should see ourselves in the Zacchaeus story.  Jesus is still inviting us.  How do we respond?
When I was praying over this passage, the words of Jesus really stuck out to me: Zacchaeus come down quickly.  It reminded me of back when I was a kid.  I remember summer vacations.  During the day, I’d turn on the tv.  And there was never anything on (except for maybe soap operas).  I remember it being so boring.  But, one show I would always like to watch was “The Price is Right.”  This was back in the days of Bob Barker right.  You all know the show right.  The contestants are chosen from the crowd.  And what happens when they are chosen?  The announcer says: Jim Smith… come on down, you’re the next contestant on the price is right.  So, what would Jim do?  He’d jump up out of his chair.  He’d start yelling and screaming.  He would sprint to the stage area.  And he’d be the next contestant.  I’m remember dreaming about hearing my name be called: Jake Runyon, come on down…
Isn’t this what happens to Zacchaeus?  Jesus says to him: come on down.  The gospel says: he came down quickly and received him with joy.  He was excited.  He received him with joy.  And in his enthusiasm, he decided to change his whole life: his giving to the poor and paying back people he ripped off.  Now, that’s excitement.
How about you and me?  How do we respond to the invitation of Jesus?  Do we jump up and down with joy and excitement?  Does the invitation of Jesus cause us to be so moved that we change our whole lives?
Maybe so.  Maybe not.  I’ve certainly met people along the way who have had these kinds of dramatic conversion experiences.  They have felt that surge of excitement when Jesus said to them: come on down.  But, I think that for the rest of us it’s not so dramatic or exciting.  But, that does not mean that Jesus is not still calling us.  That doesn’t mean that we should not respond with joy.  
I thought St. Paul’s words were helpful for us today: we always pray for you that our God may make you worthy of his calling.  In other words, we are not done yet.  Yes, Jesus is calling us.  Yes, we should respond with joy.  But, this is a process that takes place over the course of our whole lives.  One great way to enter into this story is to use these words of St. Paul.  Lord, I know you are calling me like you called Zacchaeus, make me worthy of this great call.  Help me to respond to your invitation with great joy.  Maybe we don’t jump around like the contestants on the price is right.  But, we can ask God to help us to respond to his invitation with the same joy that filled Zacchaeus.  Jesus says to each of us: come on down.  How will we respond?

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Training in Righteousness

29th Sunday of Ordinary Time year C 2019:
St. Paul tells Timothy today about the importance of the Scriptures.  Not only can they teach us about Jesus Christ, but the scriptures are helpful for teaching, refutation, correction, and, my favorite, “training in righteousness.”  I love this phrase: training in righteousness.  I like the idea that the Christian life is a life of training.  Why?  It means no matter where we are along the journey, we should just keep plugging along.  We are in training.  We haven’t finished anything.  We can keep on working, growing, changing, improving.  I find this concept of training extremely hopeful and encouraging.  Let’s keep up the training.
Today’s gospel gives us something to think about as we are training in righteousness.  Today Jesus gives us another parable and another example.  Yet, this is not really an example of someone we should follow or imitate.  He gives us the example of an unjust judge.  Even this man would render a just decision because of the badgering of the widow.  We had a similar situation a couple of weeks ago.  Do you remember the parable of the dishonest steward?  Remember, he was getting fired so he made deals with the master’s debtors as a way to find a place where he could go once the master got rid of him. 
Normally, when we hear the preaching and parables of Jesus, he gives us amazing examples that we want to emulate.  Think about last week, we heard about the Samaritan who was healed and gave thanks.  He was a good example for us to give thanks to God for all his blessings.  Or think about the Good Samaritan who took care of the man who fell in with robbers.  He was a good example of mercy and kindness toward one’s neighbor.  Think of the parable of the prodigal son.  He was a good example of a man who recognized he was a sinner, but had the courage to return to the Father’s loving embrace.
Yes, all of these are good examples.  But, what do we do with the dishonest steward or the unjust judge?  Jesus gives them to us as examples as well.  Only these are not positive examples.  Rather, these are negative examples, but they teach us important lessons.  
Isn’t this the way that life goes too?  I approach life with these two rules in mind.  Everyone is an example and every experience can teach us something.  We can learn from everyone and everything.  We want to emulate the qualities of good people or good experiences.  But, when we encounter bad people or bad experiences, we can learn from these things too. 
This is not always the easiest thing to do in reality.
Yet, everyone is an example.  Think of a painful experience you had in your life.  Now think: what can I learn from that experience?  Sometimes it’s very basic: I promise never to do or say something like that in my own life.  It is definitely the case that all of us will experience sadness and pain in our lives.  But, do we let it beat us down?  Or do we let it build us up?  Everyone is an example.  Every experience can teach us something.  
Jesus uses the unjust judge to teach us to be persistent in prayer.  By doing so he is reminding us that even our negative and painful experiences in life can truly open for us pathways to grace and goodness.  This is not easy.  This process requires the ability to open our hearts and minds to Christ in the midst of our pain.  All scripture can help us to train in righteousness and so can our experiences.  If we have the right perspective then everyone is an example and every experience can teach us something, even our pain and difficulties.  Let’s ask the lord to help us to train in righteousness through his words and example and from the people and experiences we have in our lives.  Lord, help us in our training in righteousness.

Called to be Holy

Message in a Minute for Jan 19: I once heard a quote from Michelangelo about his famous statue,  David .  Someone asked him how he made s...