The Gospel today provides us with some of the most compelling and even scary imagery to launch us into a more sincere relationship with God.
I entered the convent thinking it would be easy to develop friendships with all my sisters on the basis of our common love for God and our common charism. I soon realized my definition of relationships and friendships, like everything else, had to be surrendered to the Lord. As I embarked on the adventure of surrender, I discovered the wildly beautiful way God acts. I have discovered this so often that I have grown to expect it: Our Lord always gives back one-hundredfold. It may not be exactly what I was expecting, but it has always been the abundant fulfillment of my heart’s most authentic desire. God not only purified and strengthened my understanding of friendships, but He also gave me strong friendships I would have never dreamed were possible. The key was I had to give Him the permission to mold and heal my heart.
It is not easy, but He is so faithful.
I try to give Him this permission to transform my heart every day and sometimes several times a day. And this is essential because I want to be living the things I speak about in mission. This consistency is the only way. Besides, inauthenticity is stinky. And I think that’s the point of the Gospel today.
Our Lord Jesus makes a strong statement in the Gospel. He warns us to be very careful not to be spiritually dead and decaying interiorly while obsessing about being photo-ready. (Matthew 23:27) Photo-ready may be today’s equivalent of a whitewashed tomb.
God knows we cannot stand being fake and we thrive on authenticity. He made us this way. This is why Christ Jesus expresses His desire for this total harmony for each of us in today’s Gospel. This is tough stuff, but it is freedom.
The powerful truth is He not only teaches us, but He also gives us every grace we need to follow.
Instead of worrying about being photo-ready today, can you instead think about how to be photo-authentic? Consider turning yourself over to God for all necessary improvements!
Sister Maria Kim Bui is a Daughter of Saint Paul, women religious dedicated to evangelization in and through the media. She is originally from Tempe, AZ, spent most of her fourteen years in religious life in the northeast, and is part of a bilingual evangelization team of sisters serving in Texas. Find out more about her here.