Daily Gospel Reflection for February 24, 2014

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Today’s Gospel: Mark 9:14-29

I love today’s Gospel. There is so much from which to take encouragement.

First of all, I find great relief in Jesus’ reaction to his disciples upon their inability to cure the man’s son, despite giving them the authority to do so.

Jesus gripes (my word, not the Gospel’s), “What an unbelieving lot you are! How long must I remain with you? How long can I endure you? Bring him to me.” I will do it myself! (again, the latter are my words, not the Gospel’s).

To hear the exasperation in Jesus’ voice comforts me because sometimes I get exasperated, too, especially from my little “disciples”, a.k.a. children. From today’s Gospel, I realize exasperation and frustration are human emotions that even Jesus felt, and if he felt them than I should expect nothing less.

Next, the father’s prayer touches me: “If out of the kindness of your heart you can do anything to help us, please do!” It is not the kindness of Jesus that the man doubts. He knows Jesus is a good and loving man. He also knows that Jesus and his disciples have cured others.

Yet his faith waivers. Jesus knows his heart and assures him, “All things are possible to him who believes.”

The man prays (after all, prayer is talking to God), “I believe; help my unbelief.” It seems oxymoronic, doesn’t it? Yet, I find myself often praying the very same prayer.

I know that God is good and loves me very much, and I know that He is all-powerful and can do anything. Then why does my faith waiver?

Even though I believe, I do not always totally trust the Lord. Yet, I know that he will do what is truly best for me, even if it is not exactly that for which I am praying. Jesus’ mercy and compassion upon this man and his son gives me hope. He will always answer my prayer when I ask Him to “help my unbelief.”

There is another tender moment in this gospel reading that comforts me. After curing the boy, he “became like a corpse, which caused many to say, ‘He is dead.’”

The demon had taken so much out of him, the child was totally spent. What did Jesus do then? Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up! So when we are totally exhausted and feel like we cannot do anything more, remember this image. No doubt Jesus will take us by the hand when we need him to and lift us up.

Finally, in the last verse of the Gospel, Jesus gives us two very powerful weapons in the fight against ills and evils – prayer and fasting. Mother Church in her wisdom encourages us in the approaching season of Lent to practice using these mighty weapons. Then they will not be so hard to wield in times when they are needed.

So many gifts our Lord has given us!

Ponder:

What situations cause your faith to waiver? Do you offer these to God in prayer? Do you fast for especially difficult situations?

Pray:

Triune God, You are kind and compassionate. How awesome that you, Lord, have experienced the same emotions as I have. Thank you for understanding when I am feeling frustrated or just too tired to go on. In these moments, Jesus, reach down and lift me up. I believe, Lord, that you will always do what is best for me; help my unbelief. Amen.

Copyright 2014 Kelly Guest

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About Author

God has given Kelly lots of wonderful opportunities to follow Him. She was a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville, an education coordinator for a Catholic Charities' program for pregnant teens, a middle school teacher, a director of religious education and is now a youth minister. Her most challenging and rewarding calling, though, is wife and mother of ten children. What she has learned, she blogs at CatholicMom.com.

10 Comments

  1. Kelly, thank you for a beautifully perceptive reflection on today’s gospel. I struggle constantly with “even though I believe, I do not always totally trust the Lord. Yet, I know that he will do what is truly best for me, even if it is not exactly that for which I am praying.”
    Yet I still need help in my unbelief!

  2. Oh Kelly, what a terrific reflection you’ve shared with us today. That father’s prayer, “I do believe; help my unbelief” gets me every time… How many of us haven’t struggled with heart belief and head doubt? Especially in the realm of trusting in our role as parents? Thank you Jesus for being such a constant and forgiving savior for me! Kelly, I echo the closing of your prayer for myself today, “Lord, that you will always do what is best for me; help my unbelief. Amen.”

    • Thank you, Lisa. The father’s love for his son, trust in God and recognition of his own failings is an example to us as parents, indeed.

  3. Kelly – thank you for sharing from your heart. I preached this morning about this Gospel. And I confessed that sometimes when I lead the intentions that I’m thinking to myself: “Well this won’t happen…” all while I’m asking people to pray. Can you imagine this from a deacon? The ending of today’s Gospel has these words from Jesus: “This kind can only come out through prayer.” My point? We often are of two minds… or we treat our prayer in a doubting way as to its efficacy. A reminder to treat prayer as one of the most powerful things we can do on a daily basis.

    • Yes I can imagine this from a deacon, because deacons are human, too. I also expect from deacons the wisdom you shared also in your comment. We are often of two minds, thus prayer is important and has the power we need.

  4. Kelly, Never abandon your writing gift. Your reflection touched my heart and my need this evening. Dear Jesus, “reach down and lift me up.”

  5. Kell thanks for taking the time to share your meditation with us. I know your day is full before you even get out of bed but you know the importance of prayer. Itgives parents a great joy and peace to know that God’s words have fallen on furtile soil within their children and their children’s children. Yes we all strugglewith our unbelief at any given monment and at times we do not know when that monment may arrive. Jesus Ido not think I am going to make it through this day, I can not do it. And Jesus replies I know you can not do it, but in me all things are possible. You try and I will do it, but you must have faith and do your part. I made you without your help, but I will not bring you to holiness without your help. Show me that you truly want me God bless Kell

    • Thanks, Dad. Phil 4:13 is one of my favorite verses: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” As I always tell the kids, “Do your best, and God will do the rest.”

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