Mona Lisa and the burning bush
by Ken Rolheiser
When did you last take off your shoes to feel the warmth of God’s creation? When did you last rejoice at the start of day, rejoice that you had sight, a sense of smell, a passion for love?

As God’s family we stand on holy ground. Our Father invites us with open arms. His love for us is beyond human understanding. Let me illustrate this with a story from August’s The Word Among Us entitled “A Generous God”.

Jack’s only son Troy was arrested on drug possession. Troy faced years in a very rough prison. Jack knew that his son was guilty, but he would have done anything to spare Troy the suffering his son faced. Jack begged the judge, “Please, take me instead. I’ll do anything to keep him from this.”

Imagine how painful it must have been for God the Father to watch his son scourged and beaten and put to death by his enemies in the most tortuous way. God must have loved us with a boundless love!

God, the artist, is fashioning our portrait. In his boundless love he invites us as he invited his friend Abraham. We may not have to leave our homeland at seventy-five and start a family from whom a chosen redeemer would spring, but we may have to become people of Faith.

In the same way God invited his friend Moses in the Exodus burning bush story. He loves us as he loved Moses on Mount Nebo when he showed Moses the land his chosen people would inhabit. Moses rejoiced and was rewarded with an end to all his earthly struggles and the endless journey from Egypt.

God our friend, the Master artist, is not finished with our portraits. We are his masterpieces, but we have a role to play in the outcome. Like Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, God captures our expression, inscrutable as it is at times. He knows our hearts and our qualities and he provides the graces we need to be his masterpiece.

So let us take off our shoes and be in the presence of our friend. Our burning bush might be God’s presence in the beauty of creation or his presence in the church’s sacred liturgy. We may meet God in our workplace or in our family settings. Wherever you meet God, take the time to listen to his plan.

Take the time to take off your shoes. Tune out the world of noise and distraction. Be on the mountain with our Abba, our Father. Accept his gift of Christ and become his masterpiece.

It may be God is calling us to good works springing from the compassion he has put in our hearts. It may be we are called to love through prayer and self-sacrifice. Whatever the call, if we talk to God the picture will become clear.

God delights in his creation. He sees that it is good. We are a special delight of his, a masterpiece. Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa has been valued at over 800 million dollars. But each one of us is worth much more to God than the Mona Lisa canvas.

(528 words)