February 24, 2020 – Monday of the 7th Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/022420.cfm)
The disciples failed to heal the boy who had been possessed by a mute spirit. They have actually been healing other people already. They had become successful in their other healing session. However, to this one, they failed! Why is that? What could have been wrong? Or what could have prevented them?
Was it because that the evil sprit was too strong for them? Or was it because of their lack of faith?
When we become too proud of ourselves, we also become arrogant. We begin to think more of ourselves and for ourselves. We also begin to become self-conscious and too sensitive to what others might say to us. As a result, we cope up to what others may expect us. We will be driven to do our best. In a way, this forms us to be success-oriented and goal-oriented.
Yet, when we become successful of ourselves and of what we have done, there is a tendency to be overwhelmed by our own strength and gifts, of our own successes and achievements. When a person becomes too absorbed of his or her personal glory, then it leads the person to self-centeredness and self-praise.
Being proud of our achievements and successes is actually good and fairly important for self-esteem, yet, the danger lies when our heart is too absorbed of ourselves, of what we have gained or of what we achieved. We become self-entitled, feeling so important, that others should pay respect. The more dangerous thing is when we come to believe that we can do all things by our own strength and power alone, avoiding any help from others, and even keeping away and forgetting the grace of God working in us.
This is actually what happened to the disciples. They have become successful in their other healing miracles, but, with this boy who had been possessed by the mute spirit, they failed. They failed because they have grown proud of what they have done in the past. They have become arrogant and self-centered in their ministry. They actually believed that “they can do it and heal the boy” by themselves alone. Indeed, they have forgotten that they were instruments of healing. They forgot to pray.
There was an unspoken claim among them, claiming to be the source of healing and freedom. It means that in a way, they also claim, that they were God. That was their failure – because they favored human intervention not God’s intervention, they sought human’s power not God’s power. And indeed, at the back of their minds, they wanted the people to praise and to recognize then, not Jesus.
This is how they lacked faith. Though they have so much faith in themselves, yet, they lack faith in God. They trusted their human strength but undermined God’s strength and power to work in them. That is why, they forgot to pray, to ask God’s power to work in them and through them. They forgot to humble themselves and bow to God, to ask for help and healing.
This will also happen to us. We will be doomed to failure and disappointment when we begin to think more of ourselves.
This is how Jesus calls us today – that is to never forget that each of us is God’s instrument, that we are weak and powerless without God on our side, not to grow arrogant and self-centered but rather grounded on our experience of God’s goodness and generosity in us – that may hopefully make us humble enough to pray and ask God’s help.
Thus, when a task is so difficult never forget to ask for help. When personal issues and problems will become overwhelming never shy to ask for a listening ear from a friend. When you are at the point of breaking because of your failures and sins, or because of depression and loneliness approach somebody with courage to share your story. When your responsibilities and duties become overpowering, have the courage to ask for some assistance.
Never assume that we are strong enough when we are alone. Never believe that we can do all things by ourselves. Always ask for help. Recognize our weakness and humbly ask others and God’s help to be with us, to bless us and to empower us. Remember, it is when we acknowledge our own weakness, limitation and failures that God comes to strengthen us. Prayer makes us aware of God’s presence and more welcoming of His power in us and through us. Hinaut pa.
Jom Baring, CSsR