SATURDAY, EIGHTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
Dt 6: 4-13; Ps 18: 2-4, 47, 51; Mt 17: 14-20
HUMILITY AND PERSEVERANCE STRENGTHEN FAITH
No sooner had Jesus come down from his transfiguration experience than a man brought his possessed boy to him to be healed. The Lord had given the Twelve the power to cast out demons. Matthew himself records this in his gospel, “Jesus summoned his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to cure every disease and every sickness.” (Mt 10:1) However, the disciples were unable to drive the evil spirit out. Why then couldn’t they heal the boy? Jesus himself answers, “Because you have little faith.” What did he mean by this?
Humility is a key element of faith. The gifts and graces of God are not given to us as magic powers. They are always dependent on the measure of faith that we have in God; meaning, the measure in which we humbly recognize that the gifts come from God and belong to him and not to us. The greater the humility with which we uphold the gifts, the more effective shall we be in sharing them. Perhaps because of the special graces granted to the disciples, they were gradually tempted to consider themselves special. Thus, Jesus tells them, even with faith the size of a mustard seed, one can do a work mighty as to move a mountain, because he believes not in his own capacity to move it, but in God’s power to do so. Nothing is impossible for the one who believes because nothing is impossible for the God in whom he believes.
Despite the disciples not being able to heal his son, the man did not give up. He waited for the Lord’s return from the top of the mountain. His prayer may have not been ideal, but one cannot deny his perseverance. Another key element of faith is perseverance, but not any kind of perseverance. It is perseverance that goes hand in hand with patience. Patient perseverance is giving God his own time to make things right, and in his own way, while at the same time, not giving in to doubt, discouragement and despair.
Response: I love you, Lord, my strength.
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