Saturday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Healing the epileptic
When they came to the crowd a man approached, knelt down before him, and said, “Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Jesus said in reply, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him here to me.” Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured. Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Mt 17,14-20
This young man, unable to speak and listen, which throws himself to the ground foaming and gnashing his teeth, able only to harm himself, shows very well how the people and environments get ruined when the devil is the master. To become aware of this, just open the newspaper: protests, violence, riots, assaults, rapes, waste abandoned on the streets, misunderstandings and insensitivity to the needs of others. They are demonic manifestations, before which not only society but also the Church seem powerless, the same way as those disciples to whom this father turned are: “He [the son] is a lunatic and suffers severely… I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him”. The reason for their inability is emphasized by Jesus, in the middle and at the end of the passage: the lack of faith and prayer. The possessed man’s father, who commends himself to the Lord so that he can free his son from that devil, feels inadequate and unable before that situation, but he is animated by true faith and knows how to pray Jesus so that he intervenes. He has faith enough just to ask for help, but it is enough. I think we too should pray more often for the Lord to intervene, heal our diseases and the ones of the people we know. Prayer and faith are the Christian’s most powerful weapons. If only we had the “faith the size of a mustard seed”!