Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Comfort and a challenge: Daily Mass Homily--Tuesday, January 21st, 2014 (Memorial of St. Agnes)

           “Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance but the LORD looks into the heart.”
            This inspiring verse from 1st Samuel contains comfort and a challenge.  First, society makes it seem like we need to look, act and dress in a certain way to fit in.  This is especially true for women which are often objectified today.  While society sees the surface, God sees the heart, and we must always remember God created us and loves us.  We can combat worldly expectations by always remembering we are beloved sons and daughters of our Father and by living life for Him, not society.
            The challenge can be in perceiving the world as God does.  Often enough we fall to judgments and gossip about others in shallow ways.  We must look beyond appearances to see what the Lord does—the heart—and recognize God’s love for the people that annoy or aggravate us.
            We have an exemplary model before us today—St. Agnes.  Agnes was a young woman and physically beautiful.  She saw reality like God.  She didn’t see the axe which was to behead her—she saw her faith and love of Jesus.  While she was being humiliated (she was stripped naked for all to gaze on her), she trusted completely in God for protection.  As legend has it, the crowds turned their back because her modesty and one man, who dared to lust after her, was struck blind and left half dead.  He saw Agnes’ appearance like a man, not like God.
            Through St. Agnes’ intercession we pray for purity and chastity in our lives and society.  We ask for the grace to see ourselves and others as God does and not as the world.

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