“Avoiding a cosmetic-culture, and instead to have beauty in life to spring forth from an integrated life of faith!”
(Based on Rom 3:21-30 and Lk 11:47-54 – Thursday of the 28th Week in Ordinary Time)
A quotation by a modern-day American politician goes thus:
“If you look at great human civilizations, from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Union…
… you will see that most do not fail simply due to external threats…
… but because of internal weakness, corruption, or a failure to manifest the values and ideals they espouse!”
This failure to manifest values and ideals could be traced to a growing “cosmetic culture!”
Cosmetic-Culture could be described as a “tendency to project entities/things with an external beauty and with a greater visual appeal, without necessarily ensuring the actual quality from within!”
This Cosmetic-Culture is not merely to be considered in connection to the cosmetics or items of make-up.
It is in fact an increasing trend that seeks to make inroads into every aspect of our life… social, political, economic… or even religious…!
The presence of Cosmetic-Culture can be seen in various strands of our living…
Socially (in communities, families, nations etc), there is a lot of discrimination on the basis of colour, language, caste etc…
… but the “cosmetic-culture” presents the society in such a way, that everything seems to be fine and all are living in unity and happiness!
Politically, there is a great deal of hidden agenda, back-biting and differences in ideologies among the political parties or groups…
… but the “cosmetic-culture” covers-up the ‘evil intents’, causing many of such “opposing” parties to join hands and to be seen as being united, for their own selfish interests!
Economically, there are enormous cases of poverty on the rise, in different parts of the world and people missing out on even the basic essentials etc…
… but the “cosmetic-culture” puts a mask on all such “stark realities” and gives an impression as if there is only growth, development and prosperity!
The Gospel of the Day presents Jesus sharply lashing out at the “Cosmetic-Culture” existing in our religious practices…
… with a clarion call to do away with such “hypocritical” trends and tendencies!
In His continued attacks on the hypocrisy and duplicity of the Pharisees, Jesus condemns them for building memorials of the Prophets who were killed and murdered by their ancestors.
The Prophets of the old, lived as the true men of God and constantly called the people to a life of repentance and being faithful to God Yawheh.
But these prophets were very often persecuted, attacked and even killed.
The Prophets, who were the voice of God, while living, had their voices silenced and drowned by the wicked people…
But after their death, they used to be quoted and cited in many scholarly and erudite circles.
The Prophets, who called the people to live as per their true conscience, had their lives terminated and ended by the wicked people…
But after their death, they had fine memorials and beautiful tombs built in their name
The Prophets, who became the champion of justice and truth, had their efforts ceased and their labours aborted by the wicked people…
But after their death, they had many oratories and exquisite lectures in their name.
Jesus condemns the Pharisees for their deception, as they too become sharers of the blood of the True Prophets and the Men of God!
They had probably mastered the art of being “Cosmetically-Cultured” – projecting themselves with an external beauty and with a greater visual appeal…
… but without ensuring the actual quality from within!
This then is the danger to which we are exposed to: Is my spiritual and religious life also “Cosmetically-Cultured?”
I may be known to be exemplary in my prayers and a role-model in my strict following of Christian practices…
… but is it just a “cosmetic” to hide my inner vices and to cover-up my sinful tendencies?
I may be appearing to be a very a charitable person in extending a lot of material help in many causes…
… but is it just a “cosmetic” to conceal my hidden agenda or a means to boost my ego and inflate my pride?
I may be considered as a very social person – always jovial, cracking “many” jokes and being a “happening” person…
… but is it just a “cosmetic” to mask my inner-wounds and pains, to veil my own complexes or to trigger opportunities to gratify some of my desires?
Our generation is gravely exposed to this “Cosmetic-Culture” and perhaps many of us, knowingly or unknowingly, become proponents of the same.
A generation which focusses only on the peripherals of life and fails to give consideration to the core and inner dimensions is bound to doom!
It requires the power, grace and strength in the Lord to become counter-witnesses to this “Cosmetic-Culture”
The deeper that one is united with Christ…
… the lesser will be the dependence on “external shows” and greater will be the harmony and attractiveness of one’s life!
The stronger that one is in the faith in the Lord…
… the lesser will be the wanting to be “flashy on the outside” and greater will be the level of true charm and pleasantness!
May our Blessed Lord, help us as Christians to deepen our understanding that “our beauty in life ought to spring forth from an integrated life of faith!”
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
THE CHURCH – REVEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT
“When the work which the Father gave the Son to do on earth was accomplished, the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that He might continually sanctify the Church.”
Then “the Church was openly displayed to the crowds and the spread of the Gospel among the nations, through preaching, was begun.”
As the “convocation” of all men for salvation, the Church in her very nature is missionary, sent by Christ to all the nations to make disciples of them.
So that she can fulfil her mission, the Holy Spirit “bestows upon [the Church] varied hierarchic and charismatic gifts, and in this way directs her.”
“Henceforward the Church, endowed with the gifts of her Founder and faithfully observing His precepts of charity, humility and self-denial, receives the mission of proclaiming and establishing among all peoples the Kingdom of Christ and of God, and she is on earth the seed and the beginning of that kingdom (CCC # 767-768)