“Love is not patronizing and charity isn't about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same -- with charity you give love, so don't just give money but reach out your hand instead.” ― Mother Teresa: (1910 – 1997: Founded the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India)
Gospel Text: (MK 9:14-29)
As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John
and approached the other disciples,
they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.
Immediately on seeing him,
the whole crowd was utterly amazed.
They ran up to him and greeted him.
He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”
Someone from the crowd answered him,
“Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.
Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down;
he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.
I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.”
He said to them in reply,
“O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.”
They brought the boy to him.
And when he saw him,
the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.
As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around
and foam at the mouth.
Then he questioned his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”
He replied, “Since childhood.
It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.
But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him,
“‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”
Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering,
rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it,
“Mute and deaf spirit, I command you:
come out of him and never enter him again!”
Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.
He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!”
But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
“Why could we not drive the spirit out?”
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
In today’s gospel Jesus addresses His disciples, who were unable to drive out the mute spirit expressing disappointment at their lack of faith and rhetorically asks, “How long will I be with you? How long will I endure you?” But Jesus’ criticism on this occasion is not limited to His own disciples. When the father of the possessed son says to Jesus, “If you can do anything... help us.” To this, the Lord cries out, “If you can!”
Then Jesus speaks to the heart of the matter: the lack of faith. He had moments before described His disciples as a “faithless generation”. Now He says to the father, “Everything is possible to one who has faith.” But to this, the father offers an intriguing rejoinder: “I do believe, help my unbelief.” Jesus must have thought him sincere since He did help him. But perhaps today we could pray over this father’s words, make them our own in prayer, and root all of the petitions that we make today in these words. This father recognizes that in this fallen world, faith is always needed. One cannot outgrow the need for faith.