Christ Revealed,
Scolpito da Felice Tagliaferri (born 1971),
Sculpted in 2011,
White Carara Marble
© Felice Tagliaferri / Museo Archeologico di Napoli

Christ Revealed,
Scolpito da Felice Tagliaferri (born 1971),
Sculpted in 2011,
White Carara Marble
© Felice Tagliaferri / Museo Archeologico di Napoli

Gospel of 16 Novembre 2020

Ricevere la vista

Luca 18:35-43

As Jesus drew near to Jericho there was a blind man sitting at the side of the road begging. When he heard the crowd going past he asked what it was all about, and they told him that Jesus the Nazarene was passing by. So he called out, 'Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.' The people in front scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he shouted all the louder, 'Son of David, have pity on me.' Jesus stopped and ordered them to bring the man to him, and when he came up, asked him, 'What do you want me to do for you?' 'Sir,' he replied 'let me see again.' Jesus said to him, 'Ricevere la vista. Your faith has saved you.' And instantly his sight returned and he followed him praising God, and all the people who saw it gave praise to God for what had happened.

Riflessione sulla scultura di marmo

In today's Gospel we read of Jesus healing a blind man. We can hear that this blind man was very resilient and determined to be healed. He called out, 'Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me.' A similar resilience and single-mindedness can be found in blind contemporary artist Felice Tagliaferri.

If you have been to Naples, you probably have visited the 'Cristo Velato' (Veiled Christ) sculpture, made by Giuseppe Sammartino (1720–1793) in 1753, which depicts Christ lying under the shroud, and the effect of a thin veil is masterfully sculpted in stone. As with most artworks on public display, it is not allowed to be touched. And so our contemporary artist Felice Tagliaferri, blind since the age of 14, was not allowed to touch the sculpture, even though he had heard and read about this sculpture for so long. Even after explaining he was an artist himself, he still was refused permission to get close to the artwork, forbidden to touch. He was left deeply disappointed, not being able to touch and feel a sculpture after years of longing to do so. It was this incident which inspired the blind artist to create his own version of the Veiled Christ: The Cristo Rivelato (Revealed Christ). Sculpting his work revealed the Veiled Christ to him personally… The quality of his piece is striking and so close to the original 18th-century version. Far from having a hands-off policy for his own sculpture, Felice wants the viewer to touch his statue. He said, 'You are forbidden not to touch!'

Touch is important for today's artist. Touch was important for the blind man who met Jesus. By being healed and regaining his sight, he was touched by Jesus. Jesus exercised a ministry of touch, not just as a nice, sympathetic human act: His touch was really the touch of God. And so He continues to touch all of us struggling people, not just by His words but also by taking us by the hand, laying His hands on our eyes… His touch awakens all fives senses in us, so we can walk through our day bursting with His presence… for us to reach out and touch someone else in need…

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