In today’s readings, I encounter a majestic God and self-imposed limits. I can truly connect with these readings. I can imagine myself in role of the disciples who fail in their interaction with the possessed boy. They lack the fervor that will only come later with the Holy Spirit. I can imagine myself in the role of the father believing that Jesus can do something for his son, but living with a faith that has been challenged by his experience of the world. I know the feeling of connection I have with our Lord, but I also know the trials of desolation.
The beginning of the Book of Sirach talks of divine wisdom. I am drawn in by the author’s awe of divine revelation. The text from Mark just preceding today’s Gospel depicts Jesus transfigured. Peter, James and John are made aware of the special role of Jesus. We are further reminded of this in today’s Psalm.
In the Gospel Peter, James, John and Jesus come down from the mountain to a potentially awkward situation. The disciples had been asked to deal with a possessed boy. They had seen God’s power in Jesus. They had grown in the confidence of their own connection with the Divine. They took a risk. They tried to imitate their Master. They were unsuccessful and their personal weaknesses were brought to their attention. I can imagine the life of the father of the boy in the Gospel. He has seen has son suffer for years and questioned why.
I feel a real connection with today’s readings. I am grateful for a God that does not give up on us. I am a person who gets things wrong on a regular basis. I have my moments of quiet desolation when I feel separated from my God. In the cold dark snowy days of winter I feel much more on my own in a chaotic universe. I look at the world I live in and see people working hard, but being unable to hold on to the jobs they deserve because of corporate economics. This leaves me challenged and frustrated.
In my profession it is the norm to call things into question. I work in a field where (although I have support in my home institution) the idea of divine revelation is unwelcome to two-thirds my peers. I have something down deep that keeps me coming back, but I have a set of experiences that can leave me with questions. “I do believe, help my unbelief”
My prayer today is first in thanksgiving for the moments of revelation.
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