February 2024: Reflect the Light of Christ to Those Around You

Michael A. Marinelli, Ed.D. '76
Dear Friends,

Last Sunday, February 25, was the second Sunday of Lent, and the Gospel reading was the account of Jesus’ Transfiguration according to Saint Mark (9:2-10): 

Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them. As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So, they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.

Deacon Austin Lobo (Archmere math teacher Mrs. Vinita Lobo’s husband) is a Deacon in our parish, and he gave the homily last Sunday. Using the image of light, he said that we needed to be like prisms, reflecting the light of Christ in us to those around us. He pointed to the stained-glass windows in the Church, and shared that, like the images of the saints depicted in the sun-lit windows, we should emulate the saints, who modeled their lives after Jesus and his apostles.

This Lenten season is a time when we place an emphasis on that effort. We take time for introspection – prayer. We “cleanse” ourselves of any behaviors or ideas that are “toxic” and cloud our senses – fasting. We turn our energies and efforts to understand how we relate to others, and how our presence manifested in so many ways can be a blessing to them – almsgiving. Prayer, fasting, and almsgiving – the three actions the Church recommends to us, especially during these forty days, have been validated in scientific study of the human condition as effective ways for us to be happy and content, managing life’s struggles and celebrating life’s joys. 

I have lived through six decades of Lenten seasons, and I have observed some better than others. There were years when I did very little in the way of prayer or almsgiving. I seemed to be fastidious about keeping the rules of fasting – probably from my Catholic grade school experience and upbringing at home, where we observed all fasting and abstinence rules faithfully. There were years when I had the best intentions of giving up something or doing something for Lent, and after a couple of weeks, I lost focus and did not follow through, only making excuses and minimizing the commitment. I would venture to say that in those times, I may have been consumed with day-to-day ordinary worries of a husband, father, co-worker, son, brother, and friend, and did not allow myself to make the time to make the effort to fully accept the invitation that Lent offers us. The irony for me is that part of my responsibilities as a liturgist and church musician is to plan prayers and music of the season for my parish. So, in a sense, I was doing the work without personally benefiting from it! I was too “busy” focusing on the logistics rather than soaking in the experiences. In hindsight, it occurred to me that I was acting like Martha, when Jesus visited Martha and Mary in their home (Luke 10:38-42). 

Perhaps it is a factor of getting older and maybe a little wiser that I now try to plan and let go of things so that I, too, can experience prayerful times, and “don’t sweat the small stuff.” It is a challenge for me, as I like detail! However, what I am finding is that when I let myself be guided by my prayer, as well as by my day planner, I seem to have more balance in my life, and more that I can share with others. Using Deacon Lobo’s image of light, I believe that I feel more enlightened and by feeling so, am able to share that feeling with others. If they, in turn, can pass that feeling on to others, our world could be “transfigured” with understanding, empathy, collaboration, and peace.

Years ago, I came across a poem entitled, “We Are Like Glass,” from the National Liberty Museum. When I read it, the stained-glass moveable skylight in the Patio comes to mind, as well. Designed by Henry Keck for the home in 1918, the 250,000 pieces of glass suspended over the courtyard depict a sunburst in a garden filled with grape arbors and exotic birds. It evokes an Eden-like image for me, and no matter the weather outside, there is always a sunlit sky in the Patio. The imagery of glass and light is particularly relevant and helpful as we consider the opportunity that the Season of Lent provides us. 

Glass is a reminder of the strength and fragility that exists in every one of us.
Like glass, we are beautiful and luminous.
Like glass we are fragile and shatter without care.
Like glass, we are also strong and powerful.
Like glass, we shield and protect those around us.
Like glass, we are reflections of our past.
Like the sands of glass, we can come together, help each other and accomplish amazing things.
Take care of the beauty and strength within yourself and within everyone around you.

Happy Lent.


Michael A. Marinelli, Ed.D. ‘76
Head of School
Archmere Academy is a private, Catholic, college preparatory co-educational academy,
grades 9-12 founded in 1932 by the Norbertine Fathers.