Fourth Sunday of Lent
by Fr. Ivan Olmo
“Man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.” I recall once being captivated by a snowcapped mountain in the middle of an Alaskan city. The waterfalls were not particularly impressive but nevertheless, beautiful. From a distance, one could not hear the water flow but if you looked carefully, a mountain goat in the distance would have caught your sight and attention. Many individuals simply walked pass the scene photographing city sites, taking pictures of themselves or just breezed on by in conversation taking no notice as if the mountain was invisible, perhaps one of the buildings or just not worth the time, a glance or a look. It stopped me in my tracks. As vehicles passed by, I found myself just looking, wondering, and taking it all in as if the mountain was speaking to me. I saw beauty, goodness, truth. The mountain appeared cold, sad, weeping yet it seemed that the mountain wanted to be seen, noticed, heard. After several moments of stillness and silence, the city and all its noise and movement disappeared. I realized that I was smiling and crying at the same time. I felt God somehow captured my undivided attention at that instance. As I beheld God’s creation with such awe and wonder, I could sense and feel God’s merciful gaze was upon me and able to penetrate and pierce my inmost heart and being. God touched me with his eyes. Seeing God seeing me through this mountain caused the inner coldness in me to be warmed by a smile and the inner sadness and weeping in me to be flooded with great joy. God looks into the heart. He invites us to take a moment and to do the same. We often see things by what we see or notice on the outside. However, we know that looks are deceiving. We all have heard you cannot judge a book by its cover yet we usually do. We project ourselves onto the image we see. Our vision, skewed and impaired by our own limitations, our own weaknesses, and our own insecurities can cause us to be blind to God’s beauty, goodness or the truth in another. We can misjudge by appearances and fail to see the coldness and weeping of another caused by hurt, indifference, humiliation, abuse, or neglect. We may miss seeing the pain and suffering Christ in another because the appearance was not impressive or beautiful like a snowcapped mountain or appear to be how we would see, judge or perceive ourselves. God simply sees you.