The cultural-political discourse today includes a conversation about values, as if somehow they had disappeared or are being called into question. One has to wonder why this is, of course, but it certainly is a very important conversation for our times. There’s a sense or feeling out there that either anything goes, or I just talk myself into justifying myself, or values are somehow old fashioned. They’re not.

Not everyone can agree to any one list, but what Paul offers us in Colossians this Sunday is as good as any to guide our behavior and commit ourselves to a vision and ideal. The lists in the reading could well be said of any religion that is worth the name. Learning, practicing, and living the lists creates a good life that leads to holiness — sainthood.

Teaching these to the children is esteemed, as the father Ben Sirach does in the first reading. One can only teach these by actually living them. Therefore, parents can never say, “Do what I say, not what I do”, but rather ought to be able to say, “Do what I do, because I do it.” These things create harmony, concord, and order in the family home.

Perhaps one remembers some particular person (parent, grandparent, any elder) and tell the story of their impact on you because they knew these values and actually lived them out. Encourage this sharing in their families, telling the story, and keeping alive the memory and life of the good and just among us.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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