This Gospel hits more close to home than I care to admit. I hope that’s not scandalous to you all – but there are way too many times that this father in the Gospel could be “Father Jim.” I sometimes offer weak prayers. The father in the Gospel says to Jesus “if there’s anything that you can do.” He’s probably more honest than I can be with my spin – which sounds very pious “God if its your will.” In the deeper recesses of my heart that’s a qualifier, that’s me hedging: not my bets but my prayers… And of all the scripture passages to memorize, the quote from this father, the way too honest “I believe, help my unbelief” prayer is one that sadly is committed to my mind and heart.
Hi this was my daily Mass homily for Monday February 24, 2020. I don’t usually post the daily homilies, but had someone request it so I thought I would share it here. The Gospel can be found here: http://usccb.org/bible/readings/022420.cfm Thanks so much for stopping by to read this and even ore for sharing it on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and everywhere else people share social media posts and your feedback and comments! For the audio of my Sunday Homilies you can get them at SOUNDCLOUD click HERE or from ITUNES as a podcast HERE. Thanks again – I hope you and yours experience all of God’s blessings today and always! In Christ – Father Jim
The more I’ve sat with that line and reflected on it, the more it dawns on me that was probably the most honest prayer this father uttered. What the father doesn’t realize though was how that was the more urgent need, much more than his son’s illness. As believers, we can easily forget that. We see physical suffering and understandably see that as a crisis. That is where there’s an urgent need.
But the reality is nothing is more important than our souls. And nothing and no one other than Jesus can save our souls. One of the reasons that the miracle in restoring the boy didn’t occur at the hands of the disciples was not because they were doing something wrong – but because deep within the Father’s heart was this lingering lack of belief. In the grand view – In God’s view – which is eternal – that lack of belief was what was more important.
Yesterday, a friend shared that some friends of his age 6 your old son died from a brain tumor. He shared how little Tommy had first been diagnosed with a brain tumor at the tender age of 1. He had recovered from that – which to his doctors was nothing short of miraculous. So when Tommy suffered a recurrence 5 years later they were surprised and even though he was placed in Hospice Care back in September, they prayed for another miracle. I prayed for another miracle. What moves me is how, even though Tommy died, they believe he and they experienced miracles. They have been able to remain steadfast in their faith and belief that Jesus has been active, present to them throughout the whole time. This wasn’t the grim reaper coming for their son. As painful and confusing as it is for them, they trust Jesus they have faith in Jesus. They know that Tommy is free of that brain tumor – that in Heaven there is no sickness, there is no pain. And so now they can shift their prayer and entrust Jesus to heal their hurting, broken hearts. And they remain confident that He will. The point is that they are in a place where they see that Jesus loves them… that God is constantly at work and constantly caring for them – even if bad things happen, even if those bad things aren’t rectified in the miraculous way they had hoped. That type of faith and belief is the result of bold prayers… That type of faith and belief is the result of an ongoing relationship with the Lord.
As we’re on the cusp of the Holy Season of Lent, may this be a time for us to engage in some bold prayers as well – what are the deeper needs, the intentions, the miracles, that we hesitate to even utter. What are the ways we’re in a sense limiting God’s activity in our lives by asking little prayers. Will we be brave and courageous to ask something bolder? Will we be attentive to recognize His hand at work? Will we be humble and thankful for God’s goodness in however He responds? How we answer will determine if we’re truly looking to let go of our “unbelief”.