Fourth Sunday of Lent

When I first read through the readings for this week, I was struck by one phrase found at the end of the second reading: for we are his handiwork. It is true: we are God’s creation, a unique part of the new creation of the world through Jesus Christ[1].

And our beauty really does not come from our looks (thank God!). Our beauty comes from the way we reflect the Lord, the Infinite Beautiful One. Our reflection is not the static reflection of a painting or sculpture, but the dynamic action of people who make God’s presence real on the earth.

In the conclusion of today’s Gospel, Jesus tells Nicodemus: Whoever lives in the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.

There are times that we hide our Christianity. Someone is talking about someone else, and we join in the backstabbing. Someone is being vocal about his or her latest plunge into immorality, and we just go along with the rest listening to the exploits in silent agreement. A person is attacking our mother the Catholic Church, and we don’t make any effort to defend her saying the truth. And the artwork that God created, the handiwork of God, remains hidden, in the dark.

But there are those times that we do come into the light and let God’s handiwork be seen in the world. There are times that we give up our days and nights to stay at the bedside of a dying person, perhaps only an acquaintance who would be all alone if we left. And the beauty of God is seen in His Light. There are times that we sacrifice something that we really want to do so that we can spend time with someone who is hurting. You may take this for granted, but when you go to a wake or funeral, you are giving tremendous comfort to the family, even if you are just one of three hundred people there. The family will remember every person present and will thank God for the beauty of His people. There are times that we all take stands which are not popular, which can result in others being upset with us, but we stick with the truth for the sake of the Beauty of His Truth. And His Light overcomes the darkness.

We are God’s work of art. Artists take a deep pride in their work. But their work must be in the light to be seen. We pray today that we may have the courage to allow the light to reveal the Beauty we have be given by our Loving Savior, who is, after all, the Infinite Beauty ■

[1] Sunday 22nd March, 2009, 4th Sunday of Lent. Readings: 2 Chronicles 36:14-16, 19-23. Let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you!—Ps 136(137). Ephesians 2:4-10. John 3:14-21.

Ilustration: Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez, Las Meninas or The Family of Philip IV (1656-57), oil on canvas, 318 x 276 cm, Museo del Prado, Madrid (Spain).

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris