Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Beautiful in Christ

Memorial of Saint Augustine, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

By Colleen O’Sullivan
And for this reason we too give thanks to God unceasingly, that, in receiving the word of God from hearing us, you received it not as the word of men, but as it truly is, the word of God, which is now at work in you who believe.  (I Thessalonians 2:13)

Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.  You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.  Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing.” 
(Matthew 23:27-28)

O Lord, may my heart ever be your dwelling place.

I wonder what Jesus sees when he looks at us.  We live in a culture that puts a premium on physical appearance, and I seem to spend an inordinate amount of time blow-drying and styling my hair, putting on makeup and picking out clothes and accessories that coordinate before I walk out the door in the morning.  But when Jesus looks at me, does he care about any of that?

He certainly seemed to notice the Pharisees’ appearance, saying they looked for all the world like whitewashed tombs.  We know that tombs hold nothing but death and decay within them, and that’s what Jesus zeroed in on.   He wasn’t impressed by the outward appearance of gleaming beauty, because he could see beyond that to the emptiness within.  These weren’t godly people; their hearts were full of self-righteousness.  They knew the words of the Law, but the loving spirit of God was missing.

In Jesus’ eyes, what makes a person beautiful has nothing to do with outward appearances, which can be deceiving.  When I think about beautiful people, I often think about my grandmother.  She had a hard life.  She was one of 13 children who were separated when she was orphaned at age 4.  Farmed out to relatives who treated her as a servant, she could easily have become a bitter person.  However, she was anything but.   She was always laughing and telling funny stories. She always had hugs and kisses to spare.  She would never have been crowned Miss America, but her faith in and devotion to Christ made her shine.

When I think of beautiful people, I also think about the women in my Cursillo group.  Each one brings her unique spirituality to the group.  There are as many different ministries represented each week as there are Cursillistas.  It’s the Word at work in their hearts and souls that makes them stand out in the crowd.

Imagine Jesus walking past you today.  As he glances at you, what does he see?  

No comments: