Daily Reading & Meditation
14 And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and kneeling before him said, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; for often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16 And I brought him to your disciples, and they could not heal him.” 17 And Jesus answered, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” 20 He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.”
Meditation: What kind of faith does the Lord expect of us, especially when we meet set-backs and trials? Inevitably there are times when each of us disappoint others or disappoint ourselves when we suffer some kind of set-back or failure. In this Gospel incident the disciples of Jesus fail to heal an epileptic boy. Jesus’ response seems stern; but it is really tempered with love and compassion. We see at once Jesus’ dismay with the disciples’ lack of faith and his concern to meet the need of this troubled boy and his father. With one word of command Jesus rebukes the evil spirit that has caused this boy’s affliction and tells the spirit to “never enter him again”.
Pray with expectant faith
Jesus tells his disciples that they can “remove mountains” if they have faith in God. The expression to “remove mountains” was a common Jewish phrase for removing difficulties. A wise teacher who could solve difficulties was called a “mountain remover”. If we pray with expectant faith God will give us the means to overcome difficulties and obstacles. When you meet trials and disappointments how do you respond? With faith and trust in Jesus?
“Lord Jesus, help my unbelief! Increase my faith and trust in your saving power. Give me confidence and perseverance, especially in prayer. And help me to bring your healing love and truth to those I meet”.
Psalm 98:1-3, 8-9
1 O sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have gotten him victory.
2 The LORD has made known his victory, he has revealed his vindication in the sight of the nations.
3 He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the victory of our God!
8 Let the floods clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together
9 before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers: Faith as a grain of mustard seed, by Origen of Alexandria (185-254 AD)
“The mountains here spoken of, in my opinion, are the hostile powers that have their being in a flood of great wickedness, such as are settled down, so to speak, in some souls of various people. But when someone has total faith, such that he no longer disbelieves in anything found in holy Scripture and has faith like that of Abraham, who so believed in God to such a degree that his faith was reckoned to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6), then he has all faith like a grain of mustard seed. Then such a man will say to this mountain – I mean in this case the deaf and dumb spirit in him who is said to be epileptic – ‘Move from here to another place.’ It will move. This means it will move from the suffering person to the abyss. The apostle, taking this as his starting point, said with apostolic authority, ‘If I have all faith, so as to remove mountains’ (1 Corinthians 13:2). For he who has all faith – which is like a grain of mustard seed – moves not just one mountain but also more just like it. And nothing will be impossible for the person who has so much faith. Let us examine also this statement: ‘This kind is not cast out except through prayer and fasting’ (Mark 9:29). If at any time it is necessary that we should be engaged in the healing of one suffering from such a disorder, we are not to adjure nor put questions nor speak to the impure spirit as if it heard. But [by] devoting ourselves to prayer and fasting, we may be successful as we pray for the sufferer, and by our own fasting we may thrust out the unclean spirit from him.” (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON MATTHEW 13.7.19)