Jesus said "to the crowd, 'What an unbelieving lot you are! How long must I remain with you? How long can I endure you?' " —Mark 9:19
A lack of faith distresses Jesus (Mk 6:6). Jesus came into the midst of a crowd which lacked faith and expressed His exasperation quite openly (Mk 9:19, 23). Many of us are surrounded by crowds of people who lack faith. What is our comfort level in these crowds? Does it likewise distress us that people live lives lacking in faith? What kind of words do we speak when in the presence of a lack of faith? Do we say:
- "I understand your financial problems. I agree, you really should use birth control."
- "It must be awful living with such a wife. I agree, you really should leave her."
- "I know you are fed up with the Church. I agree, you really should get away from those people."
Or are we distressed by a lack of faith and speak as Jesus did?
- "Trust in God. He will provide for your large family" (see Phil 4:19).
- "God will give you the grace to love your spouse more deeply. Be faithful to your vows" (see Mt 19:6, 26).
- "Do not leave the Church. Believe that Jesus is working powerfully in the Church" (see Heb 10:25; Eph 1:22).
After Jesus expressed His exasperation in today's Gospel reading, He challenged the father's faith (Mk 9:23), raised the father's level of faith (Mk 9:24), and then taught His disciples to expel demons by prayer and fasting (Mk 9:29; Mt 17:21, NAB). Are you distressed by a lack of faith enough to pray, fast, and speak as Jesus did? "Your attitude must be that of Christ" (Phil 2:5).
Prayer: Father, give me the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16).
Promise: "Fear of the Lord warms the heart." —Sir 1:10
Praise: David fasts twice a week in penance and in petition for abortionists.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 2016
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