A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 17:14-20
14 A man came up to Jesus, knelt down before him,
15 and said, “Lord, have pity on my son, who is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water.
16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
17 Jesus said in reply, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring the boy here to me.”
18 Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured.
19 Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?”
20 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.”
Reflection: Driving out Demons
Good News: The impossible becomes possible for one who has faith.
Ask any athlete how he or she is able to earn a medal and he or she will utter a series of words such as rigorous trainings, healthy diet, self-confidence and determination. On rare occasions, he or she will say someone up there was helpful. What all these words mean is faith in his ability and faith in God’s help.
We need to have faith to accomplish something and when we have strong faith, the impossible becomes possible.
In the gospel above, Jesus points to the disciples’ lack of faith as the reason for their inability to cast out demons. The story does not mention the faith of the boy’s father yet we can assume that he has faith or he would not dare bring his lunatic son to Jesus for healing. The message is that faith is a sine qua non for a miracle to happen. Without faith, no mighty deeds can be performed.
Long ago, Jesus called the existing generation then as faithless and perverse and there were people afflicted with demons. Today, our generation has not improved a lot or maybe it has become even worse. Many people are still perverse and many more are afflicted with demons of different kinds. So how do we cast out the prevailing demons of perversity, faithlessness, greed, corruption, etc.?
Jesus does not require of His followers great faith. He is asking for faith as small as a mustard seed. Yet small faith can be powerful as to move mountains. With faith, we can cast out the demons in our self and in the society. Yet we cannot do it alone. With God’s help, we shall overcome. In asking God to help us, we express our faith.