Fr. Brian Konopa’s Homily 2019-03-06 Ash Wednesday

By | September 2, 2019

– As children, Advent seems to last forever, because we’re waiting
for Christmas, but Lent seems to last
forever and a day, not because we’re so excited about an Easter basket
in a month and a half, but because the tortuous
journey of Lent itself. Many of us in our childhood
we remember a big part of Lent was giving up
sweets and desserts and this had a lasting
impression on many of us. So as kids we might say,
“Ah, it’s Lent again? “Geez, I hate fish sticks.” It’s like back to
peanut butter and jelly, that’s not my favorite either. Rather than focus on
the spiritual journey that helps to restore
freedom in our lives, to have more control
over our appetites and fit in a little
more time for prayer, we tend to focus on
the pain of Lent. I don’t get to eat what
I want when I want it, I gotta go to church more. So I don’t have
as much free time, but we can learn a lesson
from Pierre-Auguste Renoir who died in 1919, 100 years ago. He was the great
French impressionist known for his timeless paintings and when people
describe his paintings, they’ll say things like,
it just glows with a light, and life, and color. Somehow he was able to
portray peoples on canvas as if there was a light
inside of them that glowed. Well, as he was getting older
the last 20 years of his life arthritis was beginning
to afflict him and his hands got
twisted and gnarled and it began to affect
his spinal column, and so it was painful
for him to paint. In fact, he couldn’t
stand while painting and people would have
to kind of help him to reposition himself
to continue painting, and there would be beads of
perspiration on his forehead because of the
effort and the pain. And one day his prize
student, Henri Matisse, asked Renoir, “Why do
you torture yourself “to continue to
go through this?” And Renoir said,
“The pain passes. “The beauty remains.” There is pain in
the Lenten journey, the pain of letting
go of those things that spiritually are harmful or even destructive
in our lives. The pain of developing the
habit of loving service for others, putting
oneself last. The pain of changing
whatever needs to be changing in our lives, in order
to do God’s will. The pain of growing into
the beautiful, unique person God always intended us to be. Remember, the pain passes, but the beauty of
renewed life in Christ, the beauty of serving
others, the beauty of resurrection power in
us will always remain.

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