HOMILY FOR MONDAY OF THE 7TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR I.
THEME: TAKE IT TO JESUS.
BY: Fr. Karabari Paul.
“From childhood. And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.”
In the Gospel of today (Mark 9:14-29), Jesus comes down from the Mountain of Transfiguration to meet the other nine disciples, the crowd and scribes arguing. So Jesus asks what the argument is about. Why are the scribes arguing with the disciples of Jesus? The answer is revealed. Someone in the crowd announces the problem. He brought his son to Jesus but found these nine disciples here at the foot of the mountain. His son has a spirit that makes him mute, seizes him, throws him down, causes him to foam at the mouth, grind his teeth, and become rigid. We are told that this spirit casts the son into the fire and into the water to destroy him. This spirit has been afflicting him since childhood.
He asked his disciples to cast out this spirit and they were not able. The disciples could not cast out this unclean spirit. This appears to be the basis for the scribes’ argument. It seems that the disciples are being challenged over their inability. And the father of the boy adds, “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus immediately responds, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” It is never about what God can do. So much is built on faith. So much is dependent on our trust in God. All things are possible for the one who believes. The problem is not divine willingness but human unbelief. Nothing is too great for God. God can do anything. The parents beg for Jesus’ compassion.
Why did these disciples fail? Why could they not cast out this unclean spirit? The text reveals to us that they were relying on themselves and did not possess enough faith. We always fail when we rely on our strengths. Lack of faith blocks so much. Great faith is lacking, and the lack of great faith is the hindrance. The problem is not with the power, ability, or compassion of God. The problem is us and our lack of faith. The father cries out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” What we need is more faith. We have faith, but we need more faith. Jesus shows why you should have faith in him. Jesus proves his point that there is nothing too great for him. Jesus has power over the dead. Jesus came to save and give life. Jesus conquers the dark powers that control us. Believe in him.
Put yourself in the condition of the boy’s father. They have battled with the crisis of the boy since he was a child. Evidently, they have tried other means to save the boy but proven futile. It is a worrisome situation. They are restless. We may not have a child whose illness takes us to the emergency ward in the hospital in the middle of the night. But we may have a marriage that is breaking, we may have a health condition that threatens our happiness, we may have a career that is not growing despite our efforts, we may have a jobless situation, we may have a contract that has not been renewed for months, we may have a home controlled by hates and disunity. These situations drain our energy and threaten our peace and resources. They make us cry daily.
The disciples can not do anything. The father can not heal the son. There are things we can not do for ourselves, and even the people we look up to can not do for us, only God can. We need to take our troubles to Jesus to handle. The magnitude of our troubles determines the level of faith and prayer needed to overcome them. Jesus says, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.” More faith comes from more prayer. Need faith? Pray for it. Pray the prayer that this man prays! I believe; help my unbelief! Pray for faith. Prayer is pictured as the avenue to faith. Success does not rest on our power. Self-sufficiency is the enemy of faith! We are not supposed to handle our trials alone. We are not supposed to walk through life independently. We are not supposed to take care of life ourselves. We are to believe that the Lord Jesus can do anything and pray for greater faith. Admit the need for help and seek the help God gives. Lord, I believe! But I need so much more! Our inadequacies are to drive us to prayer. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God grant us the faith needed to move every mountain that threatens our peace and happiness. May God do for us what we can not do for ourselves through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good morning.
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