Saturday, August 7, 2010

Our Little Faith--Matt 17: 14-20

Jesus was once approached by a father of a boy who suffered from some form of mental illness.  The father describes his son's condition as being a "lunatic and suffers severely."  (Matt 17: 15)  The father, rather than bother the Master had first gone to His disciples for a cure.  Unfortunately, no matter how hard they might try, they were unable to affect a cure.  Out of sheer desperation, the father approached Jesus to ask for His help. 

Jesus must have been frustrated with the disciples because He calls them a "faithless and perverse generation."  (Matt 17: 17)  Jesus then told the father to bring the boy to Him.  Jesus rebuked the demon within the boy and immediately a demon came out of him.  That is the way the gospel describes the miracle.  The Apostles, certainly astonished by Jesus' ease of curing the possessed young man, inquired why they were unable to do the same thing.  Jesus answered them, "because of your little faith."  (Matt 17: 20)  They must have been stunned that the Master, at whose feet they had sat and learned from all this time, could even say such a thing let alone think it!

In light of today's Gospel, it is fair to ask yourself this question:  how much faith do you have? 

All of us tend to believe that we have a great deal of faith.  Many of us go to Mass on a regular basis.  Some of us might even volunteer in our parishes to contribute to the well-being of the faith community.  But these things do not necessarily indicate the depth of faith that is within your heart.

Is our faith more like that of Mary, Jesus' mother?   Are we willing to say "Yes" to God in His Divine will for us even though the consequences may be quite high?  Are we willing to accept the will of the Father even though we may not know specifically what that will is?  Can we suspend any doubt about God and follow Him without regard to the circumstances attached to such discipleship?

Jesus tells us that if we but have "faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to the mountains, 'Move from here to there and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you."  (Matt 17: 20)  The mustard seed is one of the tiniest seeds found in nature.  Yet it produces a tree that is think and full of vegetation.  Its wood is very hardy and the plant is very difficult to kill.  And Jesus tells us if we have faith only that size, nothing will be impossible for us!

Think of that.  Nothing will be impossible to us if we but develop a true faith only the size of a mustard seed.  We limit ourselves far too much and far too often.  We tell ourselves that we are not capable of spreading the Good News of salvation by talking about our faith with a friend or family member.  We pray to God about something, yet how often after the prayer is uttered, do we disregard the possibility that God will answer our prayer?

Do you truly believe that if you had faith the size of a mustard seed you could move a mountain simply by commanding it to do so?  We are all doubting Thomases!  We prefer to follow such things as science blindly, accepting every theory as true.  But if one pure truth is presented such as abortion is morally and spiritually offensive to God and a serious sin of the worst kind, then we debate and seek the truth of the matter when the truth has been there all along.  In the end, we seem to have decided that it is up to each individual to decide for themselves.

We must work to increase our faith to the size of that mustard seed!  We must do so through fasting, prayer, attendance on a regular basis at Mass, and regular reception of the Eucharist which is not only the summit of our faith, but the very definition of our salvation.  Perhaps, if we begin to rely on the Holy Spirit more frequently and begin relying on ourselves less so, our faith will become the size of the mustard seed!  If that is the case, look out mountains!