“When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ He said to them, ‘This kind can come out only through prayer.’” (Mark 9:28-29)
The inability of Jesus’ disciples to cure a demon-possessed boy teaches us a lot of lessons. Firstly, it highlights the battle against evil which we constantly face. St. Paul teaches us: “For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
Secondly, it shows that we must be prepared at all times. Again as St. Paul would say: “Therefore, take the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)
The disciples asked Jesus in private why they could not cast out the demon and Jesus responded “This type can only be driven out by prayer.” As the saying goes: “you do not wait till it;s raining before you start fixing the leaking roof”. Be prayerful at all times because you do not know what battles lie ahead.
Thirdly, this episode highlights the love and responsibility of parents. The father of the boy decided to carry his son to look for a solution. Even the Father’s presence at the scene was instrumental to the healing of the boy and his prayer is one that we must constantly pray: “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!” Fathers, never desert your children.
Fourthly, faith is an all-important weapon we must not only possess but apply. Jesus said: “All things are possible to him who believes.” What is clear from this encounter is that even though the disciples were commanding the demon, deep down within them, they were not expecting the demon to obey. Everything is possible if you believe. The question is: “Do you believe?”
Fifthly, the fact that Jesus was disappointed with his disciples shows that Jesus was expecting them to be able to cast it out on their own. St. John would later teach us: “Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)
Finally, as our first reading admonishes us, the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. You may claim to have faith but without wisdom, you would find yourself making mistakes.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, help me to apply my faith wisely. Through Christ our Lord. Amen..
Bible Study: Ecclesiasticus 1:1-10, Ps. 93:1-2,5, Mark 9:14-29).*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu