Monday, February 23, 2009

Daily - 2/23/09

Mark 9:14-29

14 When they came to the disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.

15 Immediately on seeing him, the whole crowd was utterly amazed. They ran up to him and greeted him.

16 He asked them, "What are you arguing about with them?"

17 Someone from the crowd answered him, "Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed
by a mute spirit.

18 Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so."

19 He said to them in reply, "O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him to me."

20 They brought the boy to him. And when he saw him, the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions. As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around and foam at the mouth.

21 Then he questioned his father, "How long has this been happening to him?" He replied, "Since childhood.

22 It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us."

23 Jesus said to him, " 'If you can!' Everything is possible to one who has faith."

24 Then the boy's father cried out, "I do believe, help my unbelief!"

25 Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, "Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!"

26 Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out. He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, "He is dead!"

27 But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.

28 When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, "Why could we not drive it out?"

29 He said to them, "This kind can only come out through prayer."
This immediately follows the transfiguration in Marks's gospel, so the "they" in v 14 is Jesus, James, John, and Peter. This reading gives us a lot of information if we pay close attention:

· If you have any doubts on whether evil spirits exist, and whether they have the ability to inhabit people, doubt no more. One of Satan's greatest lies is his increasing ability to convince people that neither he nor any other demon exist. They do. It's a war out there. See Ephesians 6:10-17 for more info.

· There are different kinds of evil spirits.

· We are given tools to deal with them. Christ identifies faith (v23) and prayer (v29) as two such tools. Others are listed in the bible and have been described over time by saints. Among these are fasting, fasting, prayer, and almsgiving -- three things we are called to do during Lent.

· The boy's father sees that he doesn't have enough faith to deal with the spirit. He goes directly to Christ to give him more: "Help my unbelief!" It's a grace to realize that you don't have enough faith, and to ask Christ to increase it for you.