First Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:4-11
Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God, who has made us competent to be ministers of a new covenant, not in a written code but in the Spirit; for the written code kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the dispensation of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such splendor that the Israelites could not look at Moses' face because of its brightness, fading as this was, will not the dispensation of the Spirit be attended with greater splendor? For if there was splendor in the dispensation of condemnation, the dispensation of righteousness must far exceed it in splendor. Indeed, in this case, what once had splendor has come to have no splendor at all, because of the splendor that surpasses it. For if what faded away came with splendor, what is permanent must have much more splendor.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 99:5-9
Extol the LORD our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he! Moses and Aaron were among his priests, Samuel also was among those who called on his name. They cried to the LORD, and he answered them. He spoke to them in the pillar of cloud; they kept his testimonies, and the statutes that he gave them. O LORD our God, thou didst answer them; thou wast a forgiving God to them, but an avenger of their wrongdoings. Extol the LORD our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the LORD our God is holy!
Gospel: Matthew 5:17-19
Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
“For if what faded away came with splendor, what is permanent must have much more splendor.”
How many times has a beautiful sunset taken my breath away?
Or the immensity of the ocean and its never-ending rhythm of tides set my soul at peace?
Or the face of a freshly-born baby elicited an immediate smile on my face?
Or the glorious arches of Gothic cathedral made my mind and heart soar to higher things?
Or a delicious meal satisfied more than just my grumbling stomach?
Or a well-composed photograph delighted me with its wonderful symmetry?
Or a sweetly fragrant rose thrilled my nostrils with its wonderful scent?
This world is filled with so many beautiful and wonderful things.
And, yet! They are just a teeny, tiny glimpse of our Creator. They give only the faintest hint of Who He IS, of whose image we are made in.
Of what He has waiting for those who love Him.
Sometimes I get so giddy thinking about these gifts in my life that I can’t imagine possibly wanting to leave them for what God has waiting for me. (Despite the hardship in this world!)
Warm, gooey cinnamon rolls, a good book and a warm cup of tea, a long soak in a bubble bath, the soaring notes of a polyphonic choir, a day at the beach soaking up the sun . . . . My friends! My family! There is something better and greater than these???
Yes, it is hard to comprehend, but what He has waiting for us is a splendor beyond all imagining. We will want that Beatific Vision when it is ours to behold.
As you enjoy the beautiful things in your life today, thank God for the gift of His splendor in the created world and ask Him to help prepare you for the splendor of Heaven that He has waiting for you.
Laurel Muff is a creator and appreciator of beautiful things. She resides with her husband and daughters in Northern California. You can find more about her here.