Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
He asked them [the disciples] , “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 …. Bring him to me.” …. 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 …. Jesus …. 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 …. 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 it out?” He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.” Mk 9,16-29
Besides releasing the people who are slave of the devil, the exorcism always has a programmatic value in the gospel, in that it shows very clearly Jesus’s messianic work: fighting and defeating the evil that enslaves man and keeps him away from God We are also called to participate in this struggle to free ourselves and our keens, as the disciples tried with this young man in today’s excerpt. However, they did not succeed. They were as powerless as, when crossing the Sea of Galilee, a strong wind had begun to blow and they did not know what to do. Why did the disciples, in both cases, touch their impotence with their own hands? Because the Lord was not with them both while crossing the lake and that in today’s passage, and they realized that without him they could not do anything. In today’s Gospel, Jesus thus teaches the disciples, as well as to us, that the two means to exorcise evil when it shows up are faith and prayer: “O faithless generation! …. This kind can only come out through prayer”. In other words, faith is necessary but not sufficient: it must actually turn into prayer. During the day, this condition seems to expose us continually to the devil’s attacks, because we cannot devote much time to prayer with all we are supposed to do. It would seem so, but it is not, because we can always turn to the “prayer of life”, which passes through honest thoughts, lawful feelings, appropriate words and good deeds. And when evil turns up more violently, we can always make the sign of the cross and silently say “Our Father”, in order to make the Lord present in that situation. It is a daily exorcism accessible to everyone, and it is very powerful.