Catholic Men’s Daily Devotional and Bible Study – 18th Week in Ordinary time – Saturday – Matthew 17:14-20
Having come down the mountain following the Transfiguration, Christ is confronted with a boy possessed by Satan and His disciples who lack faith. A crowd meets Jesus near the mountain and a father solemnly and humbly kneels before Christ, drawn to Him in desperation and awed by Christ’s countenance after the Transfiguration. Calling Christ “Lord” and begging for mercy (In the Greek, Kyrie eleison!), the father describes the torment of the son, including the suffering of burns from falling in the fire and near drownings; the boy and his parents face chronic horror. The man incorrectly believes that the cycles of the moon (“lunatic”) have caused his son’s distress; the true cause is much more sinister.
Finding that His disciples failed to cure the boy, Christ 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. Christ 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. Christ points to their lack of faith; all outward words and acts of disciples can only have lasting impact if it is Christ who is working through the disciple. Christ exhorts the disciples to seek faith, for even small faith (as small as a mustard seed) can achieve impossible supernatural things (to move a mountain with a word).
Awed by Jesus Christ – Son of God, Christ has supernatural awareness of the spiritual realm, including the unseen presence of demons. Divine King, Christ has absolute dominion over Creation, including Satan and every person; He is a tough leader who expresses His displeasure and rebukes His disciples for their mediocre faith. Divine Physician, full of Divine Mercy, Christ heals both the spiritual and physical maladies of suffering souls. Divine Teacher, Christ instructs His disciples to grow in faith using phrases that stick in the memory (e.g. Faith as small as a mustard seed).
Being a Heroic Catholic Man
1) Every father knows the anguish seeing their child suffer; some know the grueling anguish of caring for a young child with chronic and incurable illness. Marvel at Christ’s mercy and His willingness to perform a miracle that eases the suffering of the boy and his father.
2) The crisis in civilization traces to the failure of Catholic men to have a zeal for Christ and to live out the Catholic faith as their highest purpose. Christ forcefully rebukes the mediocre faith of active disciples, how much more is Christ displeased with those who are lukewarm. Pray for Christ to give you a faith that will cause Him to say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
3) Truly believing that Christ is Lord leads the father in this reading to kneel before Him and beg Christ to help his son. Make an act of faith this week and kneel before the Tabernacle of Christ in your parish and pray for Christ to have mercy on your family and the whole world.
Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers
Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Joyful Mysteries
Daily Devotion – The Blessed Virgin Mary
Virtue of the Day – Hope
Corporal Work of Mercy – To bury the dead
Spiritual Work of Mercy – To pray for the living and the dead