Gospel for Sunday March 29, 2020
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen (بإسم الآب والإبن والروح القدس إلهٍ واحد آمين).
(Fourth Sunday of Great Lent) -Christ is in our midst!
In the gospel lesson of St. Mark 9: 17-31 we hear of a father asking Jesus to cast out an uncleaned spirit from his son, because the disciples could not accomplish it. In verse 19, Jesus tells the disciples as well as the father “oh faithless generation” meaning of course, lack of faith. Because there was a lack of faith by His disciples, in verse 22, the father asked Christ “if Thou canst do anything”. This remark did not set well on Jesus as the Messiah and rabbi, because the incapability of His disciples to cast out the uncleaned spirit. So, in verse 23, He (Jesus), tells the father, “if you can believe, all things are possible.” Meaning, if your faith is robust (strong). This source, which is God’s capacity, whereby His capacity will be discharged by faith. In fact, Christ wanted to evoke faith from the father. Even though the lack of faith by the son’s father, the father’s faith became stronger by his own tearful confession when he tells Jesus, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.” Thus, the Lord accepted the father’s humble confession. Furthermore, his (or even our faith) will enhance when we continue to keep our hearts open to Him every day. Regarding prayer and fasting, in verse 29 (which is very crucial or imperative) because Jesus tells the disciples why they could not cast out the demons by saying, “this kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.” Hence, neither one (prayer and fasting) requires a prerequisite (prayer and fasting), because they are joined together that make up the core and essence, which is one of the prescriptions (so to speak) of faith. In verse 30, after they passed through Galilee, Jesus tells his disciples he did not want anyone to know it. Implying, He wanted only to be with His disciples so He could continue to teach and lecture them. Or another possible reason could be, Christ did not want to be arrested and taken away at that time by the soldiers. Subsequently, there was more work to be done by Him, because in verse 31 He says to his disciples, “The son of Man (Jesus) will be delivered in the hands of man, and they will kill Him; and after He is killed, He will rise on the third day.”
Reflection on Gospel
Once again faith is tested here in this gospel lesson. Like then and even now, our faith is tested, more so during Great Lent, as Jesus told His disciples why they could not cast out the uncleaned spirit by telling them “oh faithless generation (lack of faith).” It only can be accomplished by prayer and fasting. This is one reason why in today’s world why we need to keep our faith strong and holy. I pointed out in verse 29 prayer and fasting is one of the prescriptions of faith to get the job done. With that being said about faith, at first, I told myself and my family I was not going to talk about the virus issue, but after giving it some thought, I reversed my decision and decided to talk about it, because there is a lack of faith, what do I mean? Every day we are inundated by the media on what to do about the prevention of the virus, so it won’t spread and very little about praying asking for God to help. Sad as it sounds, just about everywhere in this world that is affected by this virus either physically or mentally, you don’t hear too much about how God can help. ☹ You heard of politically correct, how about religiously correct? Why not think about being Godly correct? There is so much overkill in this pandemic and I am not trying to make light of this situation, but this is why we should be Godly correct. Meaning, we should be praying a lot more. President Franklin Roosevelt, one of our greatest president that ever lived said in his inaugural address in 1933 during the Great Depression (which were more horrible conditions than this current situation of the virus), “you have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Implying, fear makes things worse. Consequently, the people should have been praying more, eventually the Great depression came to an end. The point the President was making, do not get discouraged, because you can overcome fear by your faith in God and it will get better if you have the faith! So, my fellow Americans, as Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior said to the father in verse 23 of this gospel lesson, “if you can believe (faith), all things are possible to Him who believes.” Seeing that, instead of focusing on fear regarding the virus, we need to have more of a mindset on prayer that being one with Christ, because it will help our lives through this condition and the days that are to come. In short, since I have been writing this reflection about faith, I want to close this reflection about a big screen and TV actor named, Telly Savalas who played Kojak in a TV show during the 70s and who I might add was an Orthodox Christian. Anyways, in just about every episode he would say, “keep the faith!” In essence, he was talking about our faith in God. In today’s world, we need to do the same. We have been in this situation before and became the champions of the other virus condition and with this pandemic we will continue to tackle these circumstances that we are in today and with the help from God, we will be victorious. Remember, keep the faith, and pray, pray, pray!
God bless you!