Sunday, February 19, 2017

Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time - Help My Unbelief

Jesus, Peter, James and John came down the mountain. When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them. Immediately on seeing Jesus, the whole crowd was utterly amazed. They ran up to him and greeted him. He asked them, "What are you arguing about with them?" Someone from the crowd answered him, "Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit. 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." 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." 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. Then he questioned his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" He replied, "Since childhood. 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." Jesus said to him, " ´If you can!´ Everything is possible to one who has faith." Then the boy´s father cried out, "I do believe, help my unbelief!" 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!" Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out. He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, "He is dead!" But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up. When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, "Why could we not drive it out?" He said to them, "This kind can only come out through prayer."

Introductory Prayer:Lord, I find it so easy to repeat the words of the man in this Gospel passage: “I do believe, help my unbelief!” This is my life and my relationship with you–belief and unbelief scattered throughout the day. Help me tilt the scale towards more belief in you and your action in my life while ridding my life of unbelief.

Petition:Jesus Christ, give me a strong faith in you and your Church. Let me never doubt in your love for me.

1. What are you arguing about?The disciples could not help the boy. Instead of going out to find Christ for the solution to the problem they stood around and discussed the problem with others who could not help either. How do I react to difficult situations and problems in my life? Do I turn to prayer for solutions, or do I have more confidence in my own problem-solving abilities? Perhaps my track record with prayer is poor. I doubt that God really hears my prayers because I never see them answered. Christ asks for at least an implicit act of faith for all his miracles. If I do not believe in the power of prayer, how can I expect and demand a response? How fervent is my prayer?

2. How long will I endure you? Christ’s patience is infinite. We test his patience everyday so many times and in so many ways. Sometimes we do it in ways that we are not even aware of. This cry from his heart arises not because he is threatening to stop being patient. This cry comes forth because he wants us to trust more in him and his action in our lives and stop wasting time away from him. Life is short, very short and eternity is coming.

3. I do believe, help my unbelief! Our earthly life is a combination of a tremendous amount of grace from God and a little collaboration on our part. Is faith hard for you? Ask for more! Is doubt in some element of what the Church teaches tearing you apart? Take it to prayer. Christ is demanding, but always helping. Never will we be tested beyond the strength of his grace that is always available to us.

Dialogue with Christ: Lord, never let me sit back and glory in past victories. There is so much good you want me to do in my life. I do not have time to waste. I know you are gently urging me to do more for you. Sometimes I hear you; most of the time I do not. Please continue being patient with me, but never let me become too patient with myself.

Resolution: Today I will dedicate myself to dealing with a difficult issue or problem in my life that has seemed impossible to resolve. I will deal with it by taking it to Christ in prayer with a lot of confidence in his response.

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