Daily Readings Reflection for 2/23/09

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Reflection on the Daily Readings for 2/23/09 by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Seventh Mon. Feb.23, 2009.  Sirach 1:1-10. Psalm 93:1.1-2.5.
Mark 9:14-29. Lectionary # 341.

Today’s meditation is a lesson in faith in Jesus and the need for
prayer when it comes to getting rid of evil personified (the Devil).  The
story is given just after Jesus descends with Peter, James, and John the
chosen three for particular important events in their journey with Jesus.
At the foot of the mountain some scribes of the law are in lively
discussion with the people and probably with Jesus’ other nine
disciples–those who were not with him on the mountain of the
transfiguration.  We may surmise that the discussion was over the power of
exorcism and that Jesus’ disciples were not able to accomplish an exorcisim
on a son of one father in the crowd.  The story is told in Mark’s fast
moving and colorful way. Only through our meditating upon it and slowing
down the action can we get to the message of faith and prayer. It is there
but the scenes in Mark are quick.

The young man who is possessed by the demon is manifesting signs that
are similar to an epileptic seizure but Mark confirms that this is truly a
case of possession.  Mark is our reliable narrator who is omniscient in
what he describes so vividly in his snappy down to earth Koine or Common
Greek.  Could Jesus really help the man who is requesting that Jesus do
something about his son?  His disciples could not and thus a number of
lively discussions were being had before Jesus came down the mountain.

We learn about faith and trust from the man who speaks out of the
crowd that has gathered probably waiting for Jesus to come.  He says to
Jesus, “I do believe! Help my lack of trust.”  It is the man’s prayer and
Jesus does have the power to heal. After doing so , the young man looks as
though he is a corpse. Then Jesus lifts him up and restores him to his
father. He is entirely wholesome and has his wits. The demon is gone.
Jesus had incriminated the scribes, the people, and the disciples for the
lack of faith; only the man seemed to have had faith in the authority of
Jesus and his power to cast out demons. The language used helps the reader
and Mark’s community to understand this healing as a symbol of the
resurrection of the body.  The story ends with the disciples asking why
they could not exorcize the demon.  Jesus tells them that for this type of
possession prayer is needed. Some manuscripts of Mark’s Gospel add fasting
to the prayer. “This kind is cast out by prayer and fasting.”

We are thus being prepared for the big three practices of Lent with
the advance of Mardi Gras and then Ash Wednesday on its heels: Prayer,
Fasting, and Generous Giving of ourselves, our possessions, and our time.
Amen.

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About Author

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder and editor of CatholicMom.com and the bestselling author of the Chime Travelers children's fiction series, The Grace of Yes, The Handbook for Catholic Moms and A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms. As a board member and frequent host on KNXT Catholic Television, Lisa has produced and hosted multiple programs and has appeared on EWTN and CatholicTV. Hendey hosted “Catholic Moments” on Radio Maria and is the technology contributor for EWTN’s SonRise Morning Show. Lisa's articles have appeared in Catholic Digest, National Catholic Register, and Our Sunday Visitor. Hendey travels internationally giving workshops on faith, family, and Catholic technology and communications topics. She was selected as an Elizabeth Egan Journalism Fellow, attended the Vatican Bloggers Meeting, the “Bishops and Bloggers” meeting and has written internationally on the work of Catholic Relief Services and Unbound. Hendey lives with her family in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Visit Lisa at www.LisaHendey.com for information on her speaking schedule or to invite her to visit your group, parish or organization.

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