Hope for Those in Need

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Readings for Saturday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious – Optional Memorial

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.”  Matthew 17:14-16

OK, so perhaps this prayer is similar to the prayer of many parents.  Many young people may “fall into fire” or “into water” in the sense of falling into trouble and sin.  And many parents end up on their knees begging God for help.

This is a good prayer and it’s an honest one.  Though we do not commonly use the word “lunatic” today except as a derogatory comment, this word should be understood in this passage as the man acknowledging that his son is suffering from some form of psychological and spiritual illness.  In fact, the passage goes on to reveal that Jesus cast a demon out of him.  This demonic spiritual oppression also caused serious psychological issues. 

The first good news about this passage is that the father cared and did not give up on his son.  Perhaps it would have been easy for the father to simply disown his son out of anger, hurt or frustration.  It would have been easy for him to treat his son as someone who was no good and not worth his continued attention.  But that’s not what happened. 

The man not only came to Jesus, he also knelt down before Jesus begging for “pity.”  Pity is another word for mercy and compassion.  He knew there was hope for his son and that the hope resided in the mercy and compassion of Jesus.

This passage reveals to us the simple truth that we must pray for one another.  We must pray, especially, for those who are closest to us and in the greatest need.  No one is beyond hope.  All is possible through prayer and faith.

Reflect, today, upon whether there is someone in your life you have started to give up on.  Perhaps you’ve tried everything and the person continues to turn away from the path toward God.  In that case, you can be certain that your calling is to pray for that person.  You are called to pray not just in a casual and quick way; rather, you are called to deep and faith-filled prayer for them.  Know that Jesus is the answer to all things and can do all things.  Surrender that person to the mercy of God today, tomorrow and every day.  Do not give up, but retain hope that God can bring healing and transformation of life.

Lord, please have pity on me, my family and all those in need.  I especially pray for (_____) today.  Bring healing, holiness and transformation of life.  Jesus, I trust in You.

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