May 16 (Mk 9:14-29)

The onion is one of the most simple and commonly available vegetables.
>>It is widely used, especially in the preparation of a number of Indian dishes.

It’s interesting to notice the structure of an onion: it consists of several layers.

If one tries to peel off one layer after another, the result would be, that one would be left with nothing…just emptiness!

Our practice of Christian Faith can sometimes be likened to an onion…formed in layers.

Over the years, many layers may get formed …
>> layers of pride: feeling that I have achieved much in spiritual life
>>  layers of self-dependence: feeling that I can manage all things
>> layers of ‘only external piety’: feeling that external devotions would suffice
…and many others!

But, often, when we encounter difficulties, we find that these layers get “peeled off”…
… and we find ourselves “lacking in faith”
Often, when we face challenges, we find that these layers get “peeled off”..
… and we feel “empty in our faith”

Many times, such experiences of “being peeled off” is necessary…
… in order to not become self-reliant; instead to be God-reliant
… in order to not swell up in pride; instead to humble oneself to trust in God!
… in order to not have a mere external show of faith; instead to grow in interior holiness!

Yes, Christ peels our life like an onion to make us realize our emptiness…
… and recognize and realize His Power in our life!

The Gospel of the Day presents this experience of the disciples, in the presence of Jesus, their Master…
… an experience of being peeled, to find themselves in emptiness
…an experience of being unlayered, to find themselves in blankness

We have concluded a journey of fourteen weeks (nearly hundred days) of walking intimately with the Lord in His Passion, Death, Resurrection and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit…
… starting with the Ash Wednesday in the season of Lent
…  through the Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday
…  the Ascension and the Feast of the Holy Spirit – the Pentecost.

As we resume the Ordinary times of the Liturgical year, we are presented with the message to make an examination of the “quality of our life of faith”.

The Gospel passage in focus is that of some of the disciples of Jesus, who failed to heal a possessed boy, and the chiding that was followed by Jesus.

Jesus, was along with His “chosen within the chosen” disciples – Peter, James and John –  on the mount of Transfiguration (Mk 9: 2-13)

Meanwhile the other disciples were approached by a father, who brought his son – possessed by a demon –  to them for a healing.
>> They were however unable to heal.

The father expresses this to Jesus, Who had come down from the Mount of Transfiguration:
“I asked Your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so!” (Mk 9: 18)

Why were the disciples unable to drive the demon?
>> Why did they fail in their task of healing the boy?

It was a moment of embarrassment and awkwardness for these disciples: being unable to cure the boy

In Mk 6: 7, we read: “Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out, two by two, and gave them authority over unclean spirits”
>> The power to cast out demons was delegated by Jesus to the disciples

Yet, they failed to heal the demon-possessed boy.

Why?

Jesus answers – through a cry of lament: “O faithless generation…!” (Mk 9: 19)
>> Jesus points to the lack of faith in the disciples

He drives home a very important dimension of Faith that we need examine constantly:
>> “Do you really believe in Me…? Or is your faith more in your own-self?”
>> ” Are you totally dependent on Me… ? Or are you being more self-reliant?”

The disciples had indeed found success in their ministry (Mk 6:30)
>> They also had witnessed the mighty powers of Jesus and were in astonishment (Mk 6: 34-51)

But somehow, perhaps, their faith had still not grown…their faith was still peripheral
>> Layers of self-dependence, pride, ‘only external piety’ etc could have been formed!

Therefore Jesus, their Master…
… peeled and “unlayered” those layers

This “peeling of layers” was a necessity for the disciples…
… to begin to depend more on the Lord and His Authority, rather than their power
… to be always humble to allow to the Lord to be given all glory, rather than self-exaltation

Have I formed such layers in my practise of the Christian faith?
… Layers of pride? Layers of self-reliance? Layers of “only external piety?

Then the Lord will often take us through situations of difficulties, awkwardness and even humiliations or embarrassment…
… in order to not become self-reliant; instead to be God-reliant
… in order to not swell up in pride; instead to humble oneself to trust in God!
… in order to not have a mere external show of faith; instead to grow in interior holiness!

The Lord wishes that we grow higher in our faith… that we love Him more deeply, for His sake alone.

Let us allow Him to strengthen our faith, by the “peeling of layers” which may cause us to remain stunted and stagnant in our faith…
>> And in all such experiences…
… May we cry out, in faith: “I do believe; help my unbelief” (Mk 9: 24)

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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