Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

Sir 1:1-10; Ps 93:1,2,5; Mk 9:14-29:  The saints have taught us that the purpose of Christian life is more than doing good things for our brothers and sisters.  The purpose of Christian life is to acquire the Holy Spirit.  One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is wisdom. To share in the wisdom of God is to grow in holiness.  Only holiness befits the house of the LORD.  Only if we are robed in holiness and girt about with holiness can we stand in the heavenly court.  The LORD is king and his robe of splendor fills the temple with glory; it is the strength of the LORD that fills us who stand before the throne of God and of the Lamb in every Liturgy.  The LORD has made the world firm, not to be moved.  It is not to be taken away from his sight; it stands firm only in relationship with the LORD.  The stability of creation reflects the stability of the throne of God, from everlasting the LORD is God and there is no other.  Indeed, the decrees of the LORD are worth of all our trust.  Every word that comes forth from the mouth of the LORD is worthy of our trust.  He instructs us in wisdom so that we might grow in holiness.  Even before the beatific vision we share in the transforming union for length of days.  The book of Sirach teaches us that as we are transformed into Christ we live in the fear of the LORD.   The disciples stand speechless before the Lord Christ who summons them to grow in wisdom by taking prayer seriously.  Only in this way will the disciples of the Lord Jesus in every generation be strong enough to drive out evil spirits.  At every mass and throughout the day we pray in the words of the Lord Jesus, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

The wisdom that comes from God remains with him so that those who are filled with wisdom are close to God.  It is foolishness to be distant from the LORD.  We cannot number the sands of the seashore; we cannot count the drops of rain; we cannot add up all the days of eternity.  We are limited; God is unlimited.  Time and space are immense to us, but for the LORD they are as a drop in the bucket.  The wisdom of the LORD and prudent understanding are from the LORD, before all else that is created.  If creation is so mysterious and wondrous; how much more wondrous and mysterious is wisdom?  Only the LORD is wise and truly awe-inspiring.  Indeed, the LORD has poured forth wisdom on all his works, and lavished her upon all his friends.  We sinners are the friends of the LORD.  He has given us this gift.  The fear of the LORD is wisdom; it is glory and splendor, gladness and a festive crown.  It is the beginning of wisdom and the end of wisdom.  It warms the heart and gives gladness and joy for endless days.  The fear of the LORD does not keep us distant from God; rather, it invites us into closeness.  Such divine/human intimacy is the only way to live in this world, and the only way to live forever in heaven.

After returning from the mount of the transfiguration the Lord and his close friends are confronted with a lively discussion among the other disciples and the scribes.  They catch a glimpse of the Lord Jesus and are filled with awe and wonder.  Perhaps they can see a little of the uncreated light shining on the New Moses come down from the mountain.  Someone within the crowd runs up to the Lord Jesus to explain everything.  The father of the possessed boy explains how inadequate the disciples have been.  The Lord responds with a painful challenge to the disciples, “What an unbelieving lot you are!  How long must I remain with you?  Bring him to me.”  As if to sharpen the tension, the demon again attacks the boy and throws him into convulsions.  Then the Lord continues his challenge by addressing the father: by asking him to explain how long has this been happening?  The father admits from the beginning of his life.  The Lord Jesus seems to be offering the same challenge to the father that he offered to his disciples.  Where is your faith?  Why have you waited so long?  Did you ever lay hands on the boy and pray for healing?  Then the challenge reaches to the depths of the situation.  The father begs for the Lord Jesus to help his son “if you can.”  What do you mean “if”?  Here the Lord Jesus teaches the father and the disciples: “nothing is impossible for God.” At this point in the dialogue the father has a conversion and cries out one of the most authentic prayers in the New Testament: “I do believe!  Help my lack of trust!”  The imperfect love of a father for his son moves his heart to grow in faith.  Even if our faith is the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains and uproot trees.  This is not magic.  It is daily growth in prayer so that when we are severely challenged, we will have the wisdom and power to confront the evil one and to heal those in the greatest need.