Mark 9:14-29 Reflection: Jesus Heals a Boy with Mute Spirit

A reading from the gospel according to Mark 9:14-29:

14 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.
15 Immediately on seeing him, the whole crowd was utterly amazed. They ran up to him and greeted him.
16 He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”
17 Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.
18 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.”
19 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.”
20 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.
21 Then he questioned his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” He replied, “Since childhood.
22 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.”
23 Jesus said to him, “‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”
24 Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
25 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!”
26 Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out. He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!”
27 But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
28 When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, “Why could we not drive the spirit out?”
29 He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

Reflection: Faith and Healing

1. Healing after long prayers
Jesus shows us the way to do our mission. He always go to the mountain to pray. He always spend long hours praying away from the crowd. And this explains the success of His healing, exorcism and His whole mission. Take note of His words in verse 29: “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

2. Disciples cannot perform exorcism.
In Mark 6:7-13, Jesus empowered the 12 Apostles to cast out evil spirits and they were successful in their first mission. In the story above, they failed to do the same. What happened? Verse 14 tells us that they were spending their time arguing with the scribes instead of praying. Moreover, their lack of faith hindered their work of casting out the mute spirit.

3. Concerned parent
The father tells Jesus that the boy had been suffering from the possession of a mute spirit that makes the boy convulse since childhood. We can imagine how much his heart is hopelessly broken every time he sees his son falls to the ground and begins to roll around with foam at the mouth. He must have spent a fortune looking for a cure or exorcist. What a joy he must have felt upon hearing about the power of Jesus. So he humbly approached the Lord and asked Him to cure his son. His humility in asking the Lord for help in his unbelief is so remarkable and Jesus healed his Son.

4. Everything is possible to the one who has faith.
Once again, the power of faith is not only uttered by Jesus but He displayed it for all to see. Without faith, not much can be done as we can read in Matthew 13:58 where Jesus was unable to do many mighty works in His hometown because of the unbelief of the people. There are many more stories in the bible that illustrate the power of faith. Even in many self-help books, faith is recognized as the key driver in the success of any endeavor.

Gospel Reading and Reflection
Gospel Reading and Reflection

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