18th Week in Ord. Time, Saturday – 8th August 2020 — Gospel: Mt 17,14-20
Object of one’s faith
Though Jesus had empowered his twelve disciples with the authority to drive out unclean spirits and to cure disease and illnesses, they were unable to heal the epileptic boy. Jesus’ cure of the boy is recounted in a few words, but his answer to their private question highlights the purpose of the narrative. Jesus explicitly tells them that it is due to their lack of faith. While Jesus bolstered the faith of the inner core of the disciples through transfiguration experience on the mountain, the others disciples down in the village are having their faith tested. The main idea revolves around the faith of all those involved. Except the faith of the father of the boy that is commendable, Jesus is exasperated with the faith of both the crowd and his disciples. More than the crowd that expected miracles; the disciples are unable to execute their power which Jesus had bestowed on them. Often Jesus commented about their lack of faith or littleness of faith in the previous instances. He pointed out when they became terrified at the storm on the sea (8,26); when Peter began to sink while walking on the water (14,31); when they were worried about their daily needs (6,30; 16,8). The disciples were not completely without faith, but their faith faltered when put to the test. Therefore, Jesus challenges their faith with two hyperboles: the minuscule size of their faith, “a mustard seed”, and the huge potential of their faith, “moving a mountain”. The concept of a mountain being moved was a proverbial way of referring to a major problem and used in Isaiah 40,4; 49,11; 54,10. Jesus was not emphasizing the power of human faith itself, but the object of their faith. Jesus was not disapproving their need for faith; it is crucial (Heb 11,1). In fact, there is no limit to what can be accomplished through faith. Faith leads disciples into the realm of the impossible.