May 19, 2008
Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time
As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, and John and approached the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them. Immediately on seeing him, 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: My Lord and Father, I know that with faith everything is possible, and without it nothing is possible. You know that I believe in you, even though at times my faith is not as strong as it should be. Help me to look at the events of my day through the eyes of faith, that is, through your very eyes.
Petition: Lord Jesus, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
1. Presence of Christ So many times we go enter a Catholic church or chapel and start a litany of prayers, petitions, and complaints without realizing the most important truth: Christ is in the Tabernacle! We take for granted that the Lord of life and history is there, before us, ever silently waiting for us. If we fully comprehended this, how much confidence we would have that all of our problems will be solved – Christ will help us! As human beings we tend to complicate things, when in reality things aren’t as complex as we think they are. The troubles we encounter in our lives usually stem from a lack of faith. Taken in the light of faith our problems are not useless; rather, they are opportunities to carry our cross and practice the virtues of faith and patience. God’s time will come!
2. Futility of Works without the Grace of God In today’s Gospel passage, Christ shows us the power of prayer. God has made us free so that we may cooperate in his plan of salvation. It is true that what we do has its merit. However, when they are separated from God, our works are futile in the work of salvation. Woe to us if we ever believe that we can do it all on our own!
3. Privilege of Prayer Our Lord wants us to collaborate in the work of redemption. We do so by loving our Lord, as expressed by prayer and by obedience to his will. To depend on God is the greatest thing we can do, for it allows us to do things we would otherwise not be able to do. The more we rely on God, the more we see the futility in any human work that is separated from God’s grace. On our own we are shortsighted, always looking to do things that will benefit ourselves. Very little fruit is born from our work. With God, we look through the eyes of faith, and our work and intentions become pure and abundantly fruitful!
Conversation with Christ: Lord, grant me the humility to know that you are the protagonist in my life. I need your grace to help me value personal prayer. I don’t want merely to go through the motions as if I didn’t need you. I know today, as every day, you have something to tell me. If I am not attentive, I will miss it and will never come closer to you. Jesus, teach me how to pray!
Resolution: I will start my work or study today with a short prayer to the Holy Spirit.
Challenge: Start your work or study today with a short prayer to the Holy Spirit.
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