Help My Unbelief!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Saints for Today

Readings for Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

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“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!”  Mark 9:22-24

This Scripture passage comes in the middle of a somewhat intense scene in which people were arguing about Jesus with the scribes.  When Jesus inquired about the argument, a man came forward and asked Jesus to heal his son who had been possessed by a demon since birth.  The man also adds to his request, “If you can!”  Jesus appears to react with a rebuke for his lack of faith.  He says, “‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”

It’s important to note that the father came to Jesus in a somewhat desperate state of mind.  It is good that he came to Jesus, but ideally he would come to Jesus regardless of his desperation.  This teaches us a lesson regarding how we often come to our Lord.

Very often, when life is good, we allow our faith and trust in God to slip.  It’s easy, when things are good, to forget that God is God and that we must daily love Him and surrender all to Him, trusting Him even with the good things of life.  Conversely, when a sudden hardship comes our way, we suddenly turn to God in our need.  We come to Him as we would a doctor when we become sick.  We avoid going to the doctor when we are healthy, waiting until we are in dire need.

Even though it is a good thing to turn to Jesus in our need, when things are suddenly out of control, it is far better to come to Him when life is good and when we do not have any immediate hardship.  The fact that this man came to Jesus out of pure desperation, and the fact that he wasn’t even convinced that Jesus could do anything to help, reveals a lack of faith on his part.  So it is with us.  When we wait until we are in the midst of some crisis to come to our Lord, hoping but unsure of His ability to intervene, we are manifesting a certain lack of faith.

But the good news is that Jesus worked with the little faith this man had and He will do the same with us.  He cured his son and He will cure us when we come to Him with even a little faith.  But the ideal is to then make sure that the little faith we have manifested grows.  It must grow so that we then come to Jesus every day, even when there is no obvious crisis or imminent need.  Coming to Him, out of love, is a true sign of a deep and authentic faith.

Reflect, today, upon the motivation you have in coming to Jesus.  Yes, come to Him when things are not well, but reflect upon the essential truth of faith that you must make it your daily habit to come to Him in all things as a result of the deep and unwavering faith you have and the love you have for Him.  This form of faith will bring joy to the heart of our Lord and will transform you so that a good life will be even better.

Lord, may I come to You in all things.  May I love and serve You when life is good, and may I trust You with an unwavering trust when life is challenging.  Increase my faith and help me to manifest that faith every day of my life.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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