Architect’s rendering of the final plans for the new church at Saint Mary Magdalene
Painter Prepares for First Portrait of Pope Francis
Igor Babailov’s initial sketches of Pope Francis for his upcoming portrait.
The first thing portrait painter Igor Babailov noticed about Pope Francis was his down-to-earth demeanor.
“He wants to be with people,” Babailov said. “He can’t wait to get off his chair and go hug people. He’s adorable and lovable.”
The Nashville-based artist traveled to Rome in April of 2014 to sketch Pope Francis for his Vatican-commissioned portrait of the pope. This will be his third portrait of a pope—his portrait of Pope John Paul II hangs in Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer house, as per John Paul’s request.
Babailov also painted Pope Benedict, George W. Bush, Nelson Mandela, Vladimir Putin, and many other leaders, but he feels the portrait of Pope Francis is his biggest responsibility yet.
“I’m gathering all my experience and everything I have in my lifetime; I have to put all of that together and create the best portrait ever.”
The first sketches of Pope Francis for his Vatican-authorized portrait
The 49-year-old artist is working on a concept for the portrait now, sketching, researching the Pope, and mining anecdotes. Each of the pontiffs he has painted had different personalities, he said, and Babailov hopes to capture Pope Francis’s individuality.
“What makes Pope Francis different from Pope Benedict or Pope John Paul II? The portrait goes far beyond photography—it’s applying all that knowledge of that person and what makes that person different from another, and based on that, you create your concept,” he said.
For this piece, Babailov’s training and spirituality will come in handy. (READ MORE)
SERMON for the THIRTY THIRD SUNDAY
2014 PARABLE OF THE TALENTS - Fr. Tim Kelly
Proverbs 31 is a hymn of praise to the worthy wife, one who takes her gifts and uses them for the sake of her husband, her family and her community. She is wise and worthy because she knows that whatever dignity and merit she possesses is all a gift from God.
To know Matthew’s Gospel is to understand the proposition that everything belongs to God, who is not simply the Creator of all, but is concerned for his creation. In many Matthean parables, the Master goes off to a far place and entrusts the wellbeing of his fortune to servants. Matthew is directing his remarks to a Jewish audience primarily. They are his own people and he understands their belief that they are God’s Chosen People, and that God has given them the land. There is, after all, one God, One People, One Land and one Temple. This strong belief in their exceptional position has corrupted many of them into believing that the Land, the temple and the status as God’s people is their own. They have forgotten that they are renters, servants to whom the property has been entrusted for a short time. They consider themselves landlords whereas they are only birds of passage, ships that cross each other by night, only such stuff as dreams are made on. They have forgotten that their dignity comes from their relationship with God, not from ethnic or personal worthiness.
Unlike our meaning of the word “TALENT”, no such significance was attached to it in the time of Jesus. Talents were enormous amounts of money. This master was ruler and lord of a great fortune.
Just how generous he was matters may shock you.
A talent, from the Greek word tálanton was a round gold disk. In the Greek measurement, it was equal to 6,000 drachmas or denarii, the Greek and Roman silver coins, in weight, equal to about 75 pounds of solid gold. Some scholars say that it was the equivalent of twenty years wages for a working man. So when Jesus spoke of talents in the Parable of the Talents ( Matthew 25:14-30 ) he was referring to the largest unit of currency at the time. By the current price of gold, a Roman talent was worth $1,426,200. Any man who can entrust millions of dollars in untested servants has to be either very rich or very crazy.
God makes generous gifts to his servants. In Christian language, the talents are Grace, an unmerited, freely given gift. At baptism, the gift of Divine Grace is freely imparted by a generous God. It is a talent. It is God’s very essence to be a giver of precious treasure. In the Old Testament, the character of Ruth is referred to as the worthy woman by Boaz, who would later take her as his wife. Ruth lived her life virtuously, understanding that her dignity was God-given — especially aware that she was not even a member of the chosen people by birth. Yet, from her inherent dignity she was willing to risk anything and everything—put it all on the line—for Naomi, her Jewish mother-in-law. God was pleased with Ruth because she fulfilled his desire that she act as his image and likeness. Nothing is closer to the heart and personality of God than generosity and mercy.
But where God is angry is where Cain abuses his great gift of life and having a brother by killing that brother, God marks him off from human society. Cain received, but Cain did not share his treasure, that talent. God is angry when David, having received a kingdom from God, abuses the gift by scandalising the people with his affair with Bathsheeba, and by killing her husband Uriah the Hittite. David received, but David did not share and nourish his God-given talent.
The master’s gift of five talents - $7,000,000 is accepted as investment by the servant. It is pure gift and is not his own. It will never be his, just in his care for a while. But for now, God’s gift is in his hands and he decides to grow and nourish that grace in himself. He grows more and more like his Master.
The first two servants know their inherent dignity as sons of the Lord/Master and are willing to risk it all…all the wealth that the Master has lavished upon his servants. They believe that in pouring it out, it will come back to them in excess.
The unworthy servant refuses to take a chance, put it all on the line, risk anything. He is the embodiment of the pusillanimous person—the classic “small soul.” He lives in fear and external pressures dictate everything about him. There is little or no internal strength, so driven by fear is he. So even the great sum that he has received, in a sense, withers away. For him it is poison and danger. For the other two servants, it is potential and challenge. For him, it is grace for himself so that he may be saved. For the other two, it is a free chance to learn how to grow more and more like the Master. What he thought he had, he does not have at all.
Life and the world many times tell us to defend oneself at all cost: be self-defensive, self-regarding, self-protective. Trust no one. But, once in a little while, things happen which crack through such lies to show us that we might have to leave behind all that we thought we knew and considered important. But in order to gain the more, we have to leave the “little heartedness” behind.
The story of the address by King George VI on the first Christmas of World War II was delivered in a frightening and scary time. But the king chose to strengthen the resolve of the people by reminding them that they must trust the Almighty. Like the three servants to whom the treasure has been given, they must use that treasure, all the gifts they have, for the sake of their political freedom.
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light
and safer than a known way.”
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
Creator of heaven and earth. And in Jesus Christ,
his only Son, Our Lord who was conceived by the
Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered
under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell on the third day He arose again
from the dead. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the
Right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will
come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the
communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection
of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.