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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Saturday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading (Hab 1:12—2:4): Are you not from eternity, o Lord, my holy God, immortal? O lord, you have marked him for judgment, o Rock, you have readied him punishment! Too pure are your eyes to look upon evil, and the sight of misery you cannot endure. Why, then, do you gaze on the faithless in silence while the wicked man devours one more just than himself? You have made man like the fish of the sea, like creeping things without a ruler. He brings them all up with his hook, he hauls them away with his net, he gathers them in his seine; and so he rejoices and exults. Therefore he sacrifices to his net, and burns incense to his seine; for thanks to them his portion is generous, and his repast sumptuous. Shall he, then, keep on brandishing his sword to slay peoples without mercy?

I will stand at my guard post, and station myself upon the rampart, and keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what answer he will give to my complaint. Then the Lord answered me and said: Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late. The rash man has no integrity; but the just man, because of his faith, shall live.
Responsorial Psalm: 9
R/. You forsake not those who seek you, o Lord.
The Lord sits enthroned forever; he has set up his throne for judgment. He judges the world with justice; he governs the peoples with equity.

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of distress. They trust in you who cherish your name, for you forsake not those who seek you, o Lord.

Sing praise to the Lord enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations his deeds; for the avenger of blood has remembered; he has not forgotten the cry of the poor.
Versicle before the Gospel ((Cf. 2Tim 1:10)): Alleluia. Our Savior Jesus Christ has destroyed death and brought life to light through the Gospel. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 17:14-20): A man came up to Jesus, knelt down before him, and said, "Lord, have pity on my son, who is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him." Jesus said in reply, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring the boy here to me." Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured. Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, "Why could we not drive it out?" He said to them, "Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."

“If you have faith the size of a mustard seed… Nothing will be impossible for you”

Fr. Fidel CATALÁN i Catalán (Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, once more, Jesus teaches us that miracles are measured by the measure of our faith: “Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move” (Mt 17:20). In fact, as St. Jerome and St. Augustine point out, in working out our saintliness (something clearly exceeding our own forces) we are actually in the process of “moving mountains”. Miracles do exist, and if we do not see more of them is just because with our little faith, we do not let him make them.

Before a disconcerting and incomprehensible situation human beings react in many different ways. Epilepsy was considered an incurable illness, which was suffered by those possessed with evil spirits.

The father of that creature expressed his love for his son by begging Jesus for his total healing. His behavior is shown as a true act of faith. He kneels down before Jesus and begs him directly intimately convinced that his request will be favorably attended to. How he expresses his request shows at the same time the full acceptance of his personal condition and the recognition of the mercifulness of He that may feel sorry for others.

That father mentions the apostles have not been able to get rid of that devil. This element introduces Jesus' instruction while pointing out the little faith of his disciples. To follow him, to become his disciple, to collaborate in his mission demands a profound and well based faith, capable of supporting adversities, setbacks, difficulties and incomprehension. Faith is effective only when it is strongly rooted. In other evangelic fragments the same Jesus refers to the lack of faith of his followers. The expression “nothing will be impossible for you” (Mt 17:20) points out with all its strength to the importance of our faith to follow the Master.

God's Word places before us the thought about the quality of our faith and the way how we get deeper into it while reminding us that father's attitude by approaching Jesus and pleading with all the strength of his loving heart.

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “With the faithful trust in God’s word, we shall be well able to command a great mountain of tribulation to void from the place where it stood in our heart; whereas with a very feeble faith and a faint, we shall be scant able to remove a little hillock.” (Saint Thomas More)

  • “Each one of us in our own daily lives can testify to Christ by the power of God, the power of faith. And how do we draw from this strength? We draw it from God in prayer. Prayer is the breath of faith.” (Francis)

  • “Now, however, ‘we walk by faith, not by sight’ (2 Cor 5:7) (…). Faith can be put to the test. The world we live in often seems very far from the one promised us by faith (...).” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nº 164)