REFLECTION CAPSULE – January 07, 2022: Thursday

“Extending to the Lord our hands… our hearts… our lives…!

(Based on 1 Jn 5:5-13 and Lk 5:12-16 – Friday after Epiphany)

Life sometimes is quite strange!

Often, when things go all well, and it seems that everything is fine
… disasters strike in life.

This is the experience of many of us in our lives.

Think of a man who is in his early thirties…
He has a wonderful wife, with two lovely children.

It’s a home with a lot of joy and happiness.

One day, the man comes back home after work – he is a mason.
On coming back, he informs his wife of a tiny sore that has been nagging him for sometime

This sore had turned a bit reddish after the heavy day’s of work.

With much insistence and persuasion by the wife, the man agrees to show it to a doctor.

After the initial check-up, the doctor tells them: “Well, the sore certainly has grown a bit. I have some of my initial observations, but I need to work on them still.

Why don’t you stay up here in the hospital for a few days, so that I can further examine?”

And so he agrees.

As days pass, the sore gets more infectious.
The doctor now is ready with his well-studied and examined decision… “I am sorry to inform you… but you are infected with… Leprosy!”

Hearing this, the man is terrified. Leprosy, he knew, was not just an ordinary sickness.

It was a slow death sentence – distanced from family, distanced from society, distanced from self!

Imagine that situation of the happy living family!
The man is now to leave his wife and children; his land and work…
… He is to go and live with people who were afflicted with a similar disease.

This was the law of the land.
This was the regulation practised in this area.

The Law required the lepers to keep as far away as possible from all healthy people.

Whenever someone drew near who did not have leprosy, the leper was supposed to shout,
“Unclean! Unclean!”

So, with a heavy heart and a crushed spirit, the man leaves his loving wife and two children.

He goes off alone… to rot!
He goes off alone… to die!

He couldn’t even have an animal for a companion.

If he touched even a dog, the dog had to be killed so that it did not carry the disease back into the city.

Life as a leper was just too horrible and miserable.

Life sometimes is indeed quite strange!

The Gospel of the Day presents one such leper… A man who was “full of leprosy” (Lk 5:12)

One fine day, however, this leper looks up and sees a small group of people following a Man.

That Man, the leader, he comes to know… is Jesus.

The leper has heard about Jesus.

He would wish to hear Him.
But the Law did not permit to go close!

As the group passes their way, this leper remembers what the Law taught Him.

And he begins to shout, “Unclean! Unclean! I have leprosy! Stay away from me! Unclean!”

But then a strange thing happens! Jesus keeps coming closer to him.

His shout increases… louder goes his cries…”Unclean, Unclean!”

But Jesus keeps coming closer and closer… till He has reached the leper!

The leper has now been afflicted for many years. He misses his family very deeply.

He knows he is at the edge of life
… undergoing a slow death!

… Before him, now stands, someone, Who he has heard, has tremendous power!
… Before him, now stands, someone, Who he has heard, can unshackle any bondage!

And so, with tears filling his eyes and dread filling his shocked face, he asks, “Lord, if you will,
you can make me clean!” (Lk 5:12)

It was a cry of agony.

It was a wail of immense anguish.

He had suffered much.

He had been separated from loved ones for long.
Now he wanted a deliverance.
He wanted freedom from the captivity.

He wanted a wholesome life in his loathsome existence!

And then comes the spectacular words of Jesus, “I will. Be clean!” (Lk 5:13)

The Lord touches him!

His body was touched! His heart was healed! His soul was cleansed!

Life was restored! Happiness was returned!

Do you and I also feel sometimes like a leper?

Situations of happiness being snatched away
Moments of love and affection being afflicted
Times of joy, serenity and calmness being affected
Unloved? Rejected? Despised? Abused? Helpless? Hopeless? Dying?

We may be going through hard times

We may feel that life is unfair to us
We may feel that existence is meaningless

… The Lord wants to restore us!
… He wants to make us whole again!

Life is strange…
… but the Power of the Lord is more strong!

Life is complicated…
… but the Grace of the Lord is more compelling!

The Lord is here to touch us!
Let’s extend to Him our hands… our hearts… our lives…!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism

Religious life was born in the East during the first centuries of Christianity.
Lived within institutes canonically erected by the Church, it is distinguished from other forms of consecrated life by its liturgical character, public profession of the evangelical counsels, fraternal life led in common, and witness given to the union of Christ with the Church.
Religious life derives from the mystery of the Church. It is a gift she has received from her Lord, a gift she offers as a stable way of life to the faithful called by God to profess the counsels. Thus, the Church can both show forth Christ and acknowledge herself to be the Saviour’s bride. Religious life in its various forms is called to signify the very charity of God in the language of our time.
All religious, whether exempt or not, take their place among the collaborators of the diocesan bishop in his pastoral duty.
From the outset of the work of evangelization, the missionary “planting” and expansion of the Church require the presence of the religious life in all its forms.

“History witnesses to the outstanding service rendered by religious families in the propagation of the faith and in the formation of new Churches: from the ancient monastic institutions to the medieval orders, all the way to the more recent congregations. (CCC # 925-927)

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