[COLUMN] On appreciating beauty and goodness in everyone


The Book of Wisdom (11:22-12:2) in our First Reading, this Sunday’s Mass, states:

Before the Lord the whole universe is a grain from a balance or a drop of a morning dew come down upon the earth. 

But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things; and you overlook people’s sins that they may repent.

For you love all things that are and loathe nothing you have made; for what you have hated, you would not have fashioned.

But you spare all things, because they are yours, O Lord and lover of souls, for your imperishable spirit is in all things!”

What beautiful words to reflect this Fall season as we transition to a cooler climate and see the changing of leaves and the shortening of days.They make us appreciate the beauty that God wants us to see in every human being and all of God’s creation. They allow us to feel the grandeur and profundity of God’s love and mercy for all people and care for everything he created.

If that’s how the Book of Wisdom describes God in our lives, then, undoubtedly, that’s also how God wants us to treat one another as brothers and sisters, as a human family. And that’s how we must treat this planet and all things with great respect and care.

Hence, Pope Francis, in his encyclical, Laudato Si, states:

If someone has not learned to stop and admire something beautiful, we should not be surprised if he or she treats everything as an object to be used and abused without scruple. If we want to bring about deep change, we need to realize that certain mindsets really influence our behavior.

Jesus modeled this need to see beauty in everyone in this Sunday’s (October 30) Gospel when he stayed at the house of Zacchaeus, a chief tax collector. When others condemned and dismissed Zacchaeus, a public sinner, Jesus saw something remarkable in him: he visited his home and family.

Pope Francis constantly reminds us to refrain from exhibiting our society’s “throwaway culture” even in our relationships. We must not treat anyone as “rubbish” but relate with everyone with empathy, compassion, and love.

Again, the Scripture Readings this Sunday require us to examine our lives to see where we have failed in our appreciation for God’s creatures and creation.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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Fr. Rodel “Odey” Balagtas is the pastor of Incarnation Church in Glendale, California.


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