The Young Man at the Tomb Holding Fast to Each Other Amen to What We Are The Lord, Our Justice Claiming Our True Name What We Expect The Comma Keeping the Demons Quiet The Dove in the Heavens Thankfulness and Generosity Speaking to Jesus A Promise to Simeon and Us A Sign for You The Voice in the Wilderness How Annunciations Work The Least, the Lost, and the Last Waiting for Christ’s Return Attire for the Kingdom The Cross in a Violent World Come to the Banquet Today Anointing of the Sick Finding the Eternal Change and Continuity Paying Attention The First and the Last Using Bad Consequences How to Talk to God Ready to Forgive Facing the Serpent Priority and Mutuality Three Meals a Day Searching for Pearls The Power of Service Why Walk on Water? The Day Jesus Was Wrong The Promise of the New Name The Two Feet of Love Facing the Hour Looking Backwards Touching the Leper Touching the Leper Misunderstanding God Doing It Poorly God’s Midwife A Name for the Holy Spirit The Coffin So We Do Not Have to Touch Being Better to Each Other Earthquakes and Galilee Lazarus as a Disciple Seeing More Learning from Peter Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/2/14 Imitating God’s Holiness Weekly Bulletin 3/9/14 Choosing a Master Goodness in Temptation A Pinch of Salt Teaching the Commandments The Freedom of the Baptist Christ’s Broken Body Faith Is More than Looking The Twelve Days of Christmas God’s Timing Resurrection and Transformation The Good That Is Gone Zacchaeus Moments God in the Smallest Things Trust and Community When God’s Commands Do Not Fit The Faith of Honeybees Choosing Hell Following the Dishonest Steward The Ninety-Nine The Freedom to Let Go Beyond Politics The Balance of Humility Not Fearing Fire The Beauty Remains To Welcome as a Samaritan A Moveable Peace Bring On the Women! The Two Sides of Bread Waiting for the Ticket The Groove of the Spirit Jesus Is Not Like Congress A Divine Partnership What Kind of Love Is This? Boston Bombings and God Fishing and Forgiveness A New Kind of Joy Letting Christ Out The Sign of Inversion Our Doodling God A Parable of Love and Jealousy Not Enough Time The Ordinary and the Transcendent The Battle with the Devil God Is Not Kidding The Power of Love We Are the Body of Christ The Arc of Life Waiting for the Final Gift Displacement at Christmas Incarnating God Presenting the Mess Red Cake and Lima Beans A Call to Serve Beyond Asking Jesus’ Commandment Being Ready to Take God in the Foxhole God Is Still Working Adjusting What Is Necessary Learning from the Prophet Amos About Jesus’ Brothers The Most Popular Miracle The Importance of Hunger Eternal Life Influencing Others Finding the Right Proportion Do What You Love Stopping for the Least To Love Irritating People Marriage, Divorce, and Children Asking for More Drinking the Cup Terror in Paris God Will Come Boundaries, Security, and Generosity Feeling Movements of Life A Place to Learn God Uses Small Things Signs of Life When God Says No Christian Optimism From Transition to Call The Long Struggle The Gate of Heaven Common Sense or Hope The Spoiled Son An Oasis for Everyone Jesus’ Last Meal The Curious Omission Finding a Pony Anointing of the Sick A New Commandment After the Ascension Sin and Love The Cross and Joy The Call to Follow A Call for Humility Violence in America Two Thoughts on Prayer Live Today with Thanksgiving An Examined Life The Narrow Gate Serving Ourselves Losing Sheep Using Dishonest Wealth The Door and the Chasm Faith and Duty Distance and More Not Growing Weary Making a Difference Inadequacies and Grace Finding God Facing Turmoil Jesus, Remember Me The Lion and the Lamb Wild Like John Let Go in Love A Wider Christmas The Last Six Miles God’s Big Plan The Remnant The Salt of the Earth Beyond the Ten Commandments Love Your Enemy Focusing Our Worry How Evil Works Our Transfiguration Re-membering Our Lives Our Story If Only The Time for Hope A Second Greeting of Peace The Eucharist and Welcoming Practicing Non-Violence The Work of Forgiveness Why Are You Looking Up at the Sky? The Mystery of Salvation Being Thankful How Is a Burden Light? The Problem with Sparrows Eternal Creation Patient Vigilance Buried Treasure Thinking Again Where You Do Not Want to Go The Courage to Speak Humility and Truth Do Something Good Knowing the Song Acting Against Evil God Will Come What We Can Say Senseless Violence Invitation as a Threat What Belongs to God Two Commands, Side by Side Burdens We May Not See Foolish or Wise Accepting the Consequences Serving the Least Watching for Jesus Camels and Gnats Becoming Smaller The Christmas Barber The Ring of the Kings The Freedom and Faith of John the Baptist Zebedee The Opioid Crisis Approaching, Grasping, Lifting Up What God Intends The Battle with Satan Following Elijah and Moses Standing in Truth A God of Love or Condemnation When Life Turns Not Fully Prepared The Wounds We Carry Selling Onions Son of Encouragement To Love as God Loves Engagement with the World Doubting Disciples Sabbath Avoiding the Diabolical Persistent Hope Speaking the Word Within Us “And Also With You” Capital Punishment I Will Go On Three Wise Choices Will You Also Leave? Show No Partiality Carrying the Cross for Whom? Outside the Lines The Camel and the Needle Ask First for Sight What God Sees Only God The Arc of the Universe Turmoil, Fear, and Dismay The Gift of the Desert A Punch for the Holidays Politics and Religion Jesus Always Understands One Body God’s Love The Call Blessings and Woes Imitating God’s Mercy The Blind Leading the Blind The Devil’s Agenda Looking Closer, Looking Beyond Accepting God’s Love Mob Thinking The Easter Egg Fishing with Uncle Mike Loving Like Jesus God’s in Love with This World

The Beauty Remains

Fr. George Smiga
August 11, 2013
Luke 12:32-48

Today’s gospel seems harsh and demanding. We are said to be servants waiting the return of our master. Of course, the master is Christ who will return at the end of time to establish God’s kingdom. But, until that time when Christ comes, Jesus expects us to be active, to be vigilant, to be busy. Jesus expects us to work.

The gospel seems demanding because its emphasis is on our work, our service, our responsibility to build the kingdom of God. Just as soon as Jesus lowers that obligation upon us, it is easy to flee for cover. We can all look for excuses. “Yes, I know I’m supposed to be loving, generous, forgiving, patient, and kind, but I have only so much energy.” “I’m not feeling all that well today.” “I have other things that I have to do first.” So, there you have it. Christ calls us to build the kingdom of God, and we have all kinds of reasons why we are too busy, too depressed, too tired, too old, or too weak to do it.

So, how do we turn this around? How do we become the servants that Christ asks us to be? How do we motivate ourselves to build God’s kingdom?

It might surprise you, but what might be missing in this enterprise is beauty. August Renoir was one of the greatest painters of all time. His paintings are alive with color and beauty. Yet, for the last 20 years of Renoir’s life, he dealt with crippling arthritis. His hands were twisted and gnarled. He actually had to tie his paintbrush onto his hand in order to hold it. The arthritis also inflicted his back so he could not stand while he was painting. He required assistance to move from one position to the next. Every brush stroke, every movement was painful.

On one occasion, his friend Matisse asked him, “August, why do you keep torturing yourself in this way? You don’t need the money. Why do you keep painting?” Renoir answered, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”

Renoir was able to push through the pain of his arthritis because he saw the beauty in what he was creating. He was able to accomplish what he could not out of obligation but out of the realization that what he was doing was important. We can apply this same attitude to doing the work of the gospel, because the work of Christ is both beautiful and important.

Yes, it is difficult at times to be patient and understanding with our children, with our parents, with our spouse. The fact that Christ commands us to do so doesn’t make it any easier. But, if we could see the beautiful parts of the people in our family, if we could recognize their sincerity, their innocence, their honesty, their energy, we could push through all the frustrating peculiarities and love them.

Yes, it is difficult at times to find the time and energy to help others: to give some time to the elderly neighbor who lives on our street, to work in a soup kitchen, to volunteer to teach a child to read. But, if we could remember the beauty of the people that we help and how important it is to have them fed, literate, and not alone, we could push through all the complications of our schedules and serve them.

When we’re dealing with grief or arthritis or discouragement, it is difficult to remain positive. But, if we could see the beauty of the smile that we could bring to another’s face, and understand the way that our attitude can lift the attitude of others, we can push through the pain and be the presence of Christ to those around us.

Jesus calls us to build God’s kingdom, and that is work. But if we see the beauty of the people in our families, the people in the world, and the importance of the people that we help, we can push through all the excuses and become Christ’s servants.

The pain passes, but the beauty remains. Choose today to be a part of the beauty of God’s love.

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