Read the Homily

David could have killed Saul. And if he had killed Saul, David would have vastly improved his life.

He would not have had to run for his life anymore, to look over his shoulder every time someone suspicious walked behind him, or to worry about a spear or arrow flying in his direction out of no-where. In addition to this peace of mind, David would have immediately become the king. His life would have been so much better if he took Saul out, but he didn’t. Why? Even though he doesn’t kill Saul, David will become a great king. His house will last forever, and he will bring great prosperity to the chosen people. He will be remembered as one of the greatest leaders in history. He will achieve all of this, not by malice and wickedness, but by his association with God.

There is a lesson here. Think how great it would be if we could live our lives in such a way that no one ever got hurt. No one in our family would ever be hurt by what we said or did. No one at work would feel used or unappreciated. That would be an impressive achievement if we could live that way, but there is something much better. In addition to not hurting anyone, we would live in such a way that people around us would be blessed. Poor people would benefit from the way we live. People who mourn or who are hurt would find comfort in us. The only way to live in a way that people will benefit greatly is by following Christ’s directions.

Let me prove it. Jesus is the only one who ever taught to love your enemy and pray for your persecutors. No one else. No philosophy, no religious institution, nor any form of government. No one ever said, “Love your enemy,” except Christ. On the one hand, it is easy to say do not hurt your enemy, but Jesus says transform your enemy, change your enemy, inspire your enemy to do great things. Loving enemies stop wars, prevents violence, encourages and sustains peacemakers. Christ gives me the best advantage for living my life in a way in which people are blessed.

Two people worked in my father’s company who had opposite dispositions. One was in a constant state of absolute happiness because every day he got to get up in the morning and do what he loved to do: carpentry work. He was always happy: “I’ll buy the doughnuts and coffee today.” Needless to say, everyone wanted to work with him. The other guy was one of the most cantankerous, angry, bitter men I have ever met. My cousin got so mad at him one day that he took a shovel and filled his toolbox with dirt while the tools were still in it. My cousin never had to work with him again. I got stuck with him instead. One day we were working on the third floor of an office building hanging a door. He asked me to go to his truck to get him a drill. I went down the three flight of stairs and walked across the campus to the parking lot. I opened up the cab of his truck, and I notice that there were actually three drills, a hammer drill, an electric drill, and one of those old-fashioned hand cranks. Naturally, I grabbed the wrong one. He was livid and began to yell at me. The air turned blue from the words that he used that are not found in the English dictionary. He was so loud that people were coming out of their offices to see what was going on. It was embarrassing.

I am usually pretty good when people yell at me. One time I got yelled at by someone. I forgot to mention the mass intention. As I was getting a tongue-lashing—“You bad priest.”—I stood in silence with my head slightly bent. If you could open me up to look inside my soul you would expect to see dark clouds of doom forming of anger, disappointment, and frustration. But that is not what you would have seen. There I was bright with sunshine. As I was getting yelled at, I was thinking about my next fly fishing trip.

That’s why I am usually pretty good when people yell at me, but this time he crossed the line. He was damaging the good reputation of my father’s company. I was angry. I went to the truck, opened up the cab and looked for the drill and what I saw amazed me. Beside the drill was a shovel. The shovel started to talk to me: “You hoo, over here! I am the ticket to the good life. You will never have to work for him again.” I did not reach for the shovel. I went for the right drill. When I handed him the right drill, I said, “Sorry about that” in a sort of hushed and humble tone. He looked up at me and said, “You know kid, you’re alright.” Do you know that he never raised his voice with me again?

Christ gives us instructions in the Gospel: Love your enemy, do good to those who hurt you, turn the other cheek, do not judge, and do not condemn. These are very hard to live out, but if we follow them, we will be able to live our lives in such a way that people will be blessed. That is a great way to live.

Back to All Homilies