REFLECTION CAPSULE FOR THE DAY – February 21, 2022: Monday

“Facing the challenges of life with a strong and sturdy faith!”

(Based on Jas 3:13-18 and Mk 9:14-29 – Monday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time, Year II)

Raphael is the famous Italian painter – the architect of the High Renaissance.
>> Together with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period.

There is a famous painting of the Transfiguration of our Blessed Lord by Raphael.
>> This painting was done in Rome in 1520.

Raphael had his health deteriorating at this time, as soon he was to die at the age of 37.
>> With the life-energy draining out of him, he chose to apply his mastery strokes on the painting of the Transfiguration.

In the upper centre part of the painting is seen a flat, rock mountain top.
>> The three disciples – Peter, James and John – are shielding their eyes from the glory.
>> Just above them, in the air, are Elijah and Moses and Jesus.
>> Jesus is glisteningly white, as scripture says, “no fuller on earth could bleach”

At the bottom of the mountain, is the crowd of the other disciples.
>> They are being unable to heal a boy, who is possessed by a demon.
>> The boy, an epileptic is seen in a fit of seizure, and flanked by his helpless father

These two contrasting images in the same picture are drawn from the 9th Chapter of the Gospel of St Mark
>> The Transfiguration of the Lord (Mk 9:2-8)
>> The inability of the disciples to heal the epileptic boy (Mk 9:14-29)

The Gospel of the day is the second incident: of how the disciples fail to heal the boy and how Jesus intervenes to cure and teaches the importance of possessing strong faith.

These two incidents that are depicted in the Painting of the Transfiguration by Raphael, shows contrasting dimensions…
>> On one side, immense glory being revealed and the Divine splendour being manifested
>> On the other, lack of faith being exposed and the failure in the Kingdom ministry

>> On one side, the three disciples basking in the light of heightened faith and devotion
>> On the other, the other disciples being lost in the darkness of inability to put the faith to effectiveness

And how often is this the painting of our own lives too…

There are some moments when we experience the loftiness of God’s glory and power
>> There are other moments when we fail miserably to evoke His presence and are unable to feel His

There are some times when faith makes us to feel that everything is so glorious and wonderful
>> There are other times when our faith hits rock-bottom and our spiritual life loses its sheen and all seems so miserable

This is the reality of our lives – contrasting experiences of glorious faith at some instants and miserable lack of trust at other

But the Gospel of the day gives an encouraging exhortation by Jesus to have a strong and sturdy faith…
… “All things are possible to him who believes!” (Mk 9:23)

When the disciples were unable to bring about a healing to the epileptic boy, the Lord sure did rebuke them for their “lack of faith”

>> But after having healed the child, He does not linger with the reproaching or admonishing attitude … Instead, as a loving friend and a caring master, gently but firmly encourages them to be stronger in their faith: “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.” (Mk 9:29)

This is the approach that He has towards us too…
>> He knows that we have our weak moments and situations of disbelief and doubts
>> He knows that there are times when our faith is merely on the lips and not really from the depths of our hearts
>> He knows that there are occasions when annoying circumstances encroach our faith-life and all our efforts in devotion meet with bitter conclusions

Yet, with firmness and fondness, Jesus invites us to keep seeking to grow in our trust in Him!

The painting of our lives often carry contrasting experiences…
… of glorious faith at some instants
… and miserable lack of trust at other
Let us not get discouraged!
>> Instead, with trust in the Lord, let us face the challenges of our life with a strong and sturdy faith, knowing that, “All things are possible to him who believes!”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
>> The Christian who unites his own death to that of Jesus, views it as a step towards Him and an entrance into everlasting life.
>> The Church for the last time speaks Christ’s words of pardon and absolution over the dying Christian…
… seals him for the last time with a strengthening anointing
… and gives him Christ in viaticum as nourishment for the journey (CCC # 1020)

– Fr Jijo Jose Manjackal MSFS
Bengaluru, India

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