Sunday Vigil

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Whoever lives and believes in me
will never die.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 17, 14-19

As they were rejoining the crowd a man came up to him and went down on his knees before him.

'Lord,' he said, 'take pity on my son: he is demented and in a wretched state; he is always falling into fire and into water.

I took him to your disciples and they were unable to cure him.'

In reply, Jesus said, 'Faithless and perverse generation! How much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.'

And when Jesus rebuked it the devil came out of the boy, who was cured from that moment.

Then the disciples came privately to Jesus. 'Why were we unable to drive it out?' they asked.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

If you believe, you will see the glory of God,
thus says the Lord.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus is approached by a man who is asking for mercy for his son. Pain often becomes a cry for mercy, because it is unbearable both for those who suffer and those who must watch their loved ones in pain. The young man is not master of himself. We cannot help but think of the many young people who keep falling, prisoners of addictions that make them incapable of control. The most subtle addictions are invisible: they make people think a certain way or make certain choices, like consumerism, which takes control of people’s hearts and ruins them. In actuality, this father had not wanted to bother the teacher, and so had brought his son to the disciples, hoping they could heal him. But they could not. Jesus heals him with a word. The disciples may have been annoyed by their failure, and when they are alone with Jesus, they ask him to explain why they were not able to heal the boy. Jesus responds very clearly and tells them that they had little faith. Even faith as little as a mustard seed would have been enough to work the miracle. But the disciples did not even have that. But Jesus continues to confide in them. He does not deny them his words, his affection, or his corrections. The last sentence he speaks points to a future full of hope for the disciples: “and nothing will be impossible for you.” Faith, however small, always works great wonders: it will move things. Jesus’ words reveal that the disciples did not have faith as large as a mustard seed, the very seed that becomes the great tree to which the kingdom of heaven is compared. This means that the disciples were looking for strength somewhere else. How easily we try to find strength in our personal abilities, the powers of this world, self-affirmation, or even the logic of prestige. How often do we look for the leavening of the Pharisees or Herod: hypocrisy and power over others. These kinds of strength cannot change lives, because only faith can go behind and do what otherwise would be impossible. Faith the size of a mustard seed means that we do not have to try to measure our faith, which is impossible for us men and women, little that we are. All we need is a heart that believes and is capable of entrusting itself in a great love that does not disappoint.