Jesus miraculous heals a demon-possessed boy and rebukes His disciples’ lack of faith. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Fortitude so he can more fully rely on Christ’s power over Satan and by building the Virtue of Piety so he is always awed when blessed to be in Christ’s Presence. 

Liturgy

18th Week in Ordinary time – Saturday – Mt 17:14-20

Commentary

After the Transfiguration, Jesus is confronted with a boy possessed by Satan and the lack of faith of His disciples. The boy’s father solemnly and humbly kneels before Him, desperate and awed by Jesus’ countenance after the Transfiguration. Calling Jesus, “Lord”, the father describes how his son has been tormented by fits, burns from falling into fire and near drownings; his parents have been tormented by their child’s constant suffering. Calling his son a “lunatic” (meaning “moon-struck”, translated as “epileptic”), the man thinks the cycles of the moon have caused his son’s distress; the true cause is much more sinister. 

Finding His disciples failed to cure the boy, Jesus gives an angry rebuke: “O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you?” Christ’s exceptionally strong words condemn the lack of belief of His own disciples. Jesus sees through the boy’s outward symptoms, detects a demon, and promptly casts the demon out, healing the boy.   

The disciples are perplexed as to why they were powerless to cast out the demon. Jesus points to their lack of faith; all outward words and acts of disciples can only have lasting impact if it is Jesus who is working through the disciple. Jesus exhorts the disciples to seek faith, for even small faith, as small as a mustard seed, can achieve impossible supernatural things through Christ, to move a mountain with a word.  Jesus confirms, that casting out some demons requires with deep prayer and fasting (v 21 omitted from the Liturgy). 

Be awed by Jesus Christ

Consider with personal apprehension, the aggressive Personality of Jesus demonstrated in His response to His disciples and the man: Angry, He reacts with a Harsh and Shameful rebuke directed at both the disciples and the man, calling them “faithless and perverse”; afterwards, Jesus, the perfect demonstration of Faith, though He does not need faith, for He has complete knowledge of the Father, again rebukes the disciples for their lack of faith, revealing that even a small amount of faith can “move mountains.”

Rely on Christ’s power over Satan

Realize: Throughout the Incarnation and by His Passion, Resurrection and Ascension, Jesus demonstrates that He has absolute power over Satan and His demons; Satan is real and even today remains a mortal danger to the souls of men. 

Believe: Reflect upon Christ’s Power over Satan (CCC 421, 447, 539, 550, 566, 635-636, 1086, 1708).

Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Fortitude so that I am moved by You to take up the great work to oppose Satan in my life, receive the perseverance to always courageously resist and patiently endure the temptations of Satan, and to continually rely on Jesus’ power to, “deliver us [me] from the Evil One.” 

Be awed when blessed to be in Christ’s Presence

Realize: In contrast to the father in the Gospel who falls to his knees in awe of Jesus, many men deeply disrespect Jesus in the Mass, failing to prepare for Mass, wearing casual/sloppy clothing, failing to genuflect, noisily socializing in the pews before or after Mass or by failing to honor the actual Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist. 

Believe: Reflect upon the Adoration of Christ (CCC 347, 1178, 1183, 1378-1379, 1418, 2096, 2628, 2691, 2696).

Pray: Jesus, my Lord and Savior, help me build the Virtue of Piety (a part of Justice) so I set aside time for Adoration and give You my deepest respect, honor, and praise when I am blessed to be in Your Presence.