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Faith Daily | 7 August 2021


Almighty God,

whose beloved Son for our sake

willingly endured the agony and shame of the cross:

give us courage and patience

to take up our cross daily and follow him;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,

one God, now and for ever.


GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 17: 14-20

14 When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, knelt before him, 15and said, ‘Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.’ 17Jesus answered, ‘You 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.’ 18And Jesus rebuked the demon,* and it* came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly. 19Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ 20He said to them, ‘Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.’

GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Graeme Curnow

My initial thoughts on this passage were that here was Jesus, the Man - not the divine, and he was showing frustration and responding like an irritable curmudgeon.

That poor father, he was appealing for his epileptic son to be miraculously cured and copped a blast from Jesus for his pains.The father must have had enough faith to seek out Jesus and come to Him for help. It seems that he had a measure of faith that was more than a mustard seed because Jesus did heal the boy.

Then I looked wider. This event happened just after the miraculous Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain and the encounter with the visions of Moses and Elijah. What a spiritual high that must have been - for Jesus the Man and for Jesus the Son of God.

Now Jesus and his faithful disciples were brought back to earth (literally) and were confronted with a typical situation of human suffering.

The corresponding passage in Marks Gospel is in Chapter 9, verses 17-29. This is a more fulsome account of the incident and presents a Jesus much more aligned with the compassionate character we have come to appreciate. If Matthew wrote his account, based on Marks Gospel then he did no favours to either Jesus, the father or the disciples by writing the version that he did.

In my experience many people with more than a mustard seed of faith have diligently prayed for themselves (or for loved ones) to be cured of illness - but no miraculous cure has resulted. It is a mystery why some of us are cured while some are not.

Unfortunately this passage from Matthew can used to explain why prayer is ineffective and may be the source of guilt and pain for those who have prayed unsuccessfully.

FINAL PRAYER: For Faith After Psalm 19: The Pattern of our Days, The Iona Community

The sky does it simply, naturally

day by day by day

the sun does it joyfully

like someone in love

like a runner on the starting-line

the sky, the sun,

they just can’t help themselves

no loud voices, no grand speeches

but everyone sees, and is happy with them.

Make us like that, Lord

so that our faith is not in our words but in our lives

not in what we say but in who we are

passing on your love like an infectious laugh:

not worried, not threatening, just shining

like the sun, like a starry night,

like a lamp on a stand,

light for life –

your light for our lives. Amen.

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