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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