AUGUST 7. Ord Time B. Wk 18. Sat. Mt. 17. 14-26
A man came up to Jesus and went down on his knees before him. ‘Lord,’ he said ‘take pity on my son: he is a lunatic and in a wretched state; he is always falling into the fire or into the water. I took him to your disciples and they were unable to cure him.’ ‘Faithless and perverse generation!’ Jesus said in reply ‘How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.’ And when Jesus rebuked it the devil came out of the boy who was cured from that moment.
Then the disciples came privately to Jesus. ‘Why were we unable to cast it out?’ they asked. He answered, ‘Because you have little faith. I tell you solemnly, if your faith were the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it would move; nothing would be impossible for you.’
This reading is all about the importance of Faith and how it can be weak, and ineffective, or strong and powerful, and we all know from our own experience how true this is, as we only have to look at the lives of the saints to see evidence of a strong faith.
And when we compare our own faith to the faith of the saints, we can “see” the difference between someone with a strong faith and someone with a weak faith!
Good indicators, or measurements, of a strong faith are easily seen in our daily lives. How well we practice mortification; - how ready we are to walk away from our own desires in order to follow Christ; - how easily we forgive our neighbour when we are offended!
We live every day of our lives bearing witness to the depth of our faith; - with most of us having a predominant failing; - or “thorn in the flesh;” – that we have lived with for years without mastering?
The reason we do not overcome; - or rid ourselves of our failings and weaknesses; - can usually be put down to a weak faith?
So, we should not be surprised Christ told the disciples the reason they could not cure the man’s son was because they lacked a strong faith!
After Jesus had cast out the devil the disciples were clearly unhappy that they could not do so and they went to Jesus and asked why, and his response was clear; - “Because you have little faith!”
And the then went on and illustrated what someone with a strong faith could do; - “I tell you solemnly, if your faith were the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move; nothing would be impossible for you!”
There is an important message here for the majority of us, and that is Christ wants us to have a deep faith, not in ourselves, (which is what we tend to do!) but rather in the Mercy and Love of Jesus Christ! "Jesus I Trust in You!"
This does not mean what we want to happen will happen; - quite the contrary; - it means we are happy to leave our prayers and desires in God’s hands; - desiring only his will; - rather than our own. This type of trust is only possible for the Christian with a deep Faith in Jesus Christ!
Prayer over the Offerings
Graciously sanctify these gifts, O Lord, we pray,
and, accepting the oblation of this spiritual sacrifice,
make of us an eternal offering to you.
Through Christ our Lord.