Gospel: Mk 9:14-29*
When they came to the place where they had left the disciples, they saw many people around them and some teachers of the law arguing with them. When the people saw Jesus, they were astonished and ran to greet him.
He asked, “What are you arguing about with them?” A man answered him from the crowd, “Master, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit, deaf and mute. Whenever the spirit seizes him, it throws him down and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth and becomes stiff all over. I asked your disciples to drive the spirit out, but they could not.”
Jesus replied, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him.
As soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it shook and convulsed the boy, who fell on the ground and began rolling about, foaming at the mouth. Then Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” He replied, “From childhood. And it has often thrown him into the fi re and into the water to destroy him. If you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him, “Why do you say, ‘If you can?’ All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately, the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe, but help the little faith I have.”
Jesus saw that the crowd was increasing rapidly, so he ordered the evil spirit, “Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you: Leave the boy and never enter him again.” The evil spirit shook and convulsed the boy and with a terrible shriek came out. The boy lay like a corpse and people said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and raised him; and the boy stood up.
After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive out the spirit?” And he answered, “Only prayer can drive out this kind, nothing else.”
Help the Little Faith I have
Last Saturday we spoke about having the Faith of our ancestors. Today we encounter in the Gospel a man who confesses that he has little faith and so he asks the Lord to help his little faith. His humble admission of his weak faith moved the Lord to act on the plea of the helpless father.
Sometimes we can feel that we are most unworthy of Divine intervention. When we think thus, we put limits to what God can do. This father with little faith tells us, however, that when we humbly admit our limitations we eventually surrender to God’s powerful intervention! Little faith we indeed may have, but if we humble ourselves before the powerful God so many great things can happen to us!
In truth, true Faith is recognizing that we indeed are helpless without the grace of God. The flipside, so to speak, of faith is humility. One who has great humility will have his little faith complimented! We pray with the distraught father in the Gospel today: “Lord, help the little faith I have!“