A reading from the Gospel according to Mark 9:14-29
As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, 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 the spirit out?” He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
REFLECTION: “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
"You can do it." "You can!" "Believe in yourselves." These words we have spoken to our children, ourselves and we hear from motivational speakers. Yes, we do need that nudge, that push to use all our gifts and talents. After a while, we start believing these utterances to the point that we become so self sufficient in ourselves and forget about our Creator. We need to know the difference between using our abilities to the maximum and believing we can do all things.
We sometimes complicate our prayer life when we carry a packful of prayer books and pray them all. We use all our devotional energy in reciting many prayers. We sometimes pray as if we don't believe that God's will is the best and that we have to twist and turn His arm or have others do it for us so as to get what we want.
The miserable young man in today's Gospel could not speak, could not say what his needs were, nor express love nor declare any faith. His world was frustration, no happiness and scary to many. The disciples thought it would be a piece of cake to declare the demons out and the boy would be healed. But he wasn't, was he, by them? There is no easy formula, but remember, only God can heal. Yes, He does share this gift of healing with many, but we need to continuously grow more and more in Him. Praying, reconciliation, Holy Communion are the most powerful means to grow in love and service in God.
We pray for priests for only they bring us reconciliation and Holy Communion. God called them to His service. With time, they might forget their vocation and allow the world to enter their lives.
** "The Seven Capital Sins are destructive energy. They destroy you when you adopt them. They consume your life. This is why we must learn to temper them. Prayer is the way."
"How many weapons do you need to kill a wild beast? Do you need to use all the knives, guns, cannons, whips, atomic bombs, hydrogen bombs, clubs, tanks and other weapons? Or only one is good enough? You may have only a little Swiss knife and you could kill a bear or mountain lion or a wolf. It does not depend on how many knives you have in your hand, but rather on the skill that you master in using the little knife."...
"... Prayer is war and war is practical. You kill or you get killed. This is why you must learn to use your spiritual weapon. One is good enough to slay the beast. You must master your own weapon. To master that weapon means to temper it. You make it into an extension of your body, just as the body is an extension of your soul."
"The virtue of temperance is about tempering or masteirng your spiritual weapon so you could kill the Seven Beasts of Capital Sins."**
In the PAPA Prayer for Priests, we have such a tool. Daily we offer this prayer to God for our good and faithful priests and for the weak and frail priests. Please join us daily with this prayer.
**(Father Michael J. Truongluan Nguyen, C.S.s.R--spiritual director of PAPA)