Tuesday, August 8, 2017



The title of my homily for this 18th Tuesday in Ordinary Time is, “What Sculpts Our Face?”


While driving along I notice people pausing - especially at red lights -  to check out how they look in the mirror.

I wonder at times - how many times - do people stop to check out their soul - their being - their attitude - when they look in the mirror - as they are going down the roads of life?

Do they look deep into their eyes and not just the surface and surroundings of their eyes?

The eyes are the window to the soul.

How am I in there?

What’s forming my face?

What’s sculpting my face?


We’re hearing stories about Moses and Miriam and Aaron these days with these first readings from Numbers and earlier from Exodus. It struck  me as I read these readings, “What were the faces of Moses, Miram and Aaron like?"

We’re told that God talked to Moses face to face.  We also hear that Moses’ face glistened and shined - with a bright light.


I noticed in a few commentaries on today’s first reading that the Lord was angry with Miriam and Aaron - Moses' brother and sister - for speaking out against him. They had complained, "Is it through Moses alone that the Lord speaks?" Then they added what every kid would say, "What about us?" 

Deeper motives .... They had been angry with Moses because he chose a Cushite for his wife. The Cushites were from down in Ethiopia and were a bit more black. Miriam is featured the most in today’s first reading from Numbers. Envy was eating her up. Was she envious because this wife was much younger? Was she much more beautiful than Miriam?

Bluntly the reading says that Miriam gets leprosy. In those days,  this was any serious skin deformation.  The book of Numbers says her face looked like a still born baby who was missing part of his or her skin.


Reflecting on this, I asked questions about the impact of our attitudes on our face.

So that's where I got the question, "What sculpts a face." 

One of the meanings for the name Miriam is “bitter”.

Would someone who is constantly bitter of soul become bitter of face?

How many times have we seen a face that has the ends of the mouth line - turned downwards. It’s an unhappy face. How many unhappy moments, how many inner complaints, does it take to make a face an unhappy face?

What can turn those face lines upwards at the mouth endings - so as to be wearing an authentic happy face.

People spend millions on plastic surgery for their face to look better, when spiritual surgery - will do it so much better - but free of charge - if we do inner work - working with the grace of God.


When you look in the mirror and you see an unhappy face, or when you see someone with a constant sad face, say Moses prayer at the end of today’s first reading. “Moses cried to the Lord, ‘Please, not this! Pray, heal her!” 

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