“Moving from peripheral faith to powerful trust!”
(Based on Jas 3:13-18 and and Mk 9:14-29)
A story is told of a master who had a disciple, for a long time.
Though the disciple was an extreme simpleton, the master persisted with him, on account of his sincerity.
One day, a rumour spread in the village that the disciple was walking over the waters of the river.
On hearing the news, the master asked the disciple: “Is it true, that you crossed the river, by walking on the water?”
The disciple said: “Yes, O Master. It was all thanks to you. I repeated your name with deep faith and trust, and I could cross over the river!”
The Master said to himself: “If my disciple could walk over the waters, surely I should be able much more.
If repeating my name can work a miracle, why not make an attempt!”
So saying, the master began to walk on the waters, uttering his name…
… only to drown into the waters!
His feeble and wavering faith, had got him drowned!
The master thought only a mere repetition of his name would work a miracle: A peripheral faith!
The disciple had complete confidence that a miracle could be worked: A powerful trust!
Faith is something that comes from within…
True faith requires the peeling away of the “layers of doubts”
The Gospel of the Day is an incident of how a “peripheral faith” is exposed and how a teaching is given to move into the realm of “powerful trust”
The reading in focus is that of some of the disciples of Jesus, who failed to heal a possessed boy, and the chiding that was followed by Jesus.
Jesus, was along with His “chosen within the chosen” disciples – Peter, James and John – on the mount of Transfiguration (Mk 9: 2-13)
Meanwhile the other disciples were approached by a father, who brought his son – possessed by a demon – to them for a healing.
They were however unable to heal.
The father expresses this to Jesus, Who had come down from the Mount of Transfiguration:
“I asked Your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so!” (Mk 9: 18)
Why were the disciples unable to drive the demon?
Why did they fail in their task of healing the boy?
It was a moment of embarrassment and awkwardness for these disciples: being unable to cure the boy
In Mk 6: 7, we read: “Jesus summoned the Twelve and began to send them out, two by two, and gave them authority over unclean spirits”
The power to cast out demons was delegated by Jesus to the disciples
Yet, they failed to heal the demon-possessed boy.
Jesus answers – through a cry of lament: “O faithless generation…!” (Mk 9: 19)
Jesus points to the lack of faith in the disciples
He drives home a very important dimension of Faith that we need examine constantly:
“Do you really believe in Me…?
… or is your faith more in your own-self?”
” Are you totally dependent on Me… ?
… or are you being more self-reliant?”
The disciples had indeed found success in their ministry (Mk 6:30)
They also had witnessed the mighty powers of Jesus and were in astonishment (Mk 6: 34-51)
But somehow, perhaps, their faith had still not grown…their faith was still peripheral
Layers of self-dependence, pride, ‘only external piety’ were still formed!
Therefore Jesus, their Master…
… peeled and “unlayered” those layers
This “peeling of layers” was a necessity for the disciples…
… to begin to depend more on the Lord and His Authority, rather than their power
… to be always humble to allow to the Lord to be given all glory, rather than self-exaltation
Are there such layers in my practise of the Christian faith?
… Layers of pride? Layers of self-reliance? Layers of “only external piety?
Then the Lord will often take us through situations of difficulties, awkwardness and even humiliations or embarrassment…
… in order to not become self-reliant; instead to be God-reliant
… in order to not swell up in pride; instead to humble oneself to trust in God!
… in order to not have a mere external show of faith; instead to grow in interior holiness!
The Lord wishes that we grow higher in our faith… that we love Him more deeply, for His sake alone.
In the words of St James, let’s pray for “wisdom from above that is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity!” (Cf. Jas 3:17).
Let us allow Him to help us to move from a “peripheral faith” into the realm of “powerful trust”…
And thus in, deep trust, to cry out: “I do believe; help my unbelief” (Mk 9: 24)
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) –