The Healing Power of Faith

Mark 9: 14-29
Jas 3: 13-18/ Ps 19: 8. 9. 10. 15

‘You faithless people! How long shall I put up with you?’
(Mark 9:19)

Should evil keep my soul in chains,
Where else to turn to for relief?
In You alone my hope remains,
Lord, help me with my unbelief.

When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and some scribes arguing with them. When the people saw Jesus, they were astonished, and ran to greet him. “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked. A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit, deaf and mute. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” Jesus replied, “You faithless people! How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” He replied, “From childhood. It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was gathering, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” (Mark 9:14-29)

Reflection

The apostles were unable to exorcise the deaf-mute spirit because they were more concerned in arguing with the scribes than praying to God, and showing compassion to the father and his distressed son. St. James wrote in the first reading: “Good deeds (are) done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (Jas 3:13). Jesus showed them compassion by asking the father about the history of his son’s evil entrapment. He was also able to draw out what little faith the father possessed. Jesus shows us that having faith is more important than having a gift for healing. This gift from the Holy Spirit does not necessarily mean that we have a strong faith either. In humility, we must always turn to God in prayer, whether to ask for somebody’s healing or to be freed of an evil influence.

In many instances, pastors, priests and leaders of healing ministries have become obsessed by their God-given gift that they are possessed by the evil spirit of pride. St. James further said, “If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (Jas 3:14-15). As our Lord has shown in the Gospel, we must always be grounded in prayer. When we allow any kind of power, wealth, or “wisdom” to overwhelm us, vulnerable human beings that we are, we are like putty in the devil’s hands.

Come, Holy Spirit, fortify our faith when we are besieged by doubt. Remind us that we are totally dependent on God, our Father when we feel self-sufficient and powerful. Help us to remain focused on the values exemplified by our Lord, Jesus Christ. In His Name, we pray. Amen.

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