Jesus rebukes His disciples and casts a demon out of a possessed young boy. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Fortitude from the Holy Spirit so he can be strengthened to oppose Satan and by building the Virtue of Prayer so he can draw closer to Jesus through prayer and fasting.
7th Week in Ordinary Time – Monday – Mk 9:14-29
Having come down the mountain following The Transfiguration, Jesus is confronted with a boy possessed by Satan and the lack of faith of His disciples. At the base of the mountain, a crowd is gathered around the disciples of Jesus and are arguing; when they see Jesus, they stop arguing and run to Him and are amazed at His shining countenance. When Jesus asks about the cause of the argument, a father tells Him of his demon-possessed son’s torment which includes physical battering, paralysis, burns from falling in the fire and near drownings. The father is discouraged for the disciples of Jesus have been unable to cast out the demon from the boy.
Finding that 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?” These are exceptionally strong words which condemn His own disciples who fail to fully believe. When the boy is brought to Jesus, the demon reacts, dropping the boy to the ground in a fit of violent agitation. When the father is uncertain about Jesus’ power, Jesus rebukes the man, urging him to believe; the father cries out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” After Jesus casts the demon out, the boy stops moving and the crowd believes the boy is dead; Jesus raises the boy up and he is completely healed.
Later, the disciples are perplexed as to why they were powerless to cast out the demon. Having already rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith (“O faithless generation…”), Jesus reveals that to exorcise this type of demon requires fervent prayer and fasting (Mt 17:21).
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” (Mt 17:17); He rebukes the man with the Mocking phrase, “If I can?”, and sternly calls the man to Faith.
Be fortified by the Spirit to oppose Satan
Realize: Despite the inhuman acts of evil which give ample daily evidence of the Evil One’s activity in the world, many people reject the reality of Satan by falsely claiming that Satan is simply a superstitious myth; the rejection or diminishment of the reality of Satan is a rebellious, ignorant, and dangerous rejection of the direct revelation of Jesus Christ; to reject the existence of Satan is to reject Jesus.
Believe: Reflect upon Satan (CCC 391-395; 2850-2854).
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 pray for Jesus to, “deliver us [me] from the Evil One.”
Draw closer to Christ through prayer and fasting
Realize: When the disciples falter in healing the demon-possessed boy, Jesus rebukes them for their lack of faith and urges them to pray and fast.
Believe: Reflect upon the need to Persevere in Prayer (CCC 2742-2745) and to Fast (CCC 538, 1434, 2043).
Pray: Jesus, Divine King, help me build the Virtue of Prayer (a part of Justice) and the Virtue of Fasting (a part of Temperance and an act of Mortification) so I can draw closer to You by a disciplined daily prayer life and by frequent fasting (at least every Friday and designated days of fasting).