Saturday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Dt 6:4-13; Ps 18:2-4,47,51; Mt 17:14-20
“Extolled be God my savior!”

In those who are in need, suffering, oppressed, we see the face of the Lord Jesus who told us in loving the least among us we love him. In every generation the lovers of Christ do the impossible by living lives of simplicity in which they grow daily in faith, hope and love. Those who love the Lord intercede for all who suffer severely and for all who care for them. Nothing is impossible for those who pray with faith the size of a mustard seed. Those who follow the Lamb of God, find great joy in simple faith. To these the Lord Jesus never asks, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you?”

Moses has heard and has proclaimed the prayer on the lips of all believers—the shemah. The Lord Jesus had repeated this prayer of his ancestors. He alone has taken to heart these words and he drills them into his children—all who are reborn in His dying and rising. We have yet to learn that simple and total love. To love so completely is not just to remember the Lord’s saving love in bringing our ancestors out of slavery in Egypt; it is to recognize that the same love brings us daily into the freedom of the Children of God. We are truly free to love God as he has loved us. Indeed, it is the love of God within us that alone can respond to the love of the One who first loved us. The Lord Our Liberator has brought us into a land with fine cities and bounty untold, which we have not garnered for ourselves. Such blessing is our beginning, our maturation, our fulfillment, and our gift to all who are unloved and loveless. Such lovers of God change the face of the earth, by the ineffable power of love. We did not know love until God first loved us. Now we know, so how can we hold back? How can we not love as we have been loved?

The gospel reveals the love of a father who is powerless to help his own son. This child of his love is a lunatic, possessed by demons as the gospel later explains. He suffers severely falling into fire and water. The faith of this father has brought him to the disciples of Jesus, but they could not cure him. It seems that the father’s faith is greater than the disciples’ faith. They did not yet understand that Jesus’ power to heal was not just to attract attention to himself or to his message. His power to heal reveals the Heart of the Father. It revealed the true power of love, God’s love. This power is not for Christ alone, but it is for all who would follow Christ. Those who love God completely reveal the totality of God’s love. This is the love that lives in the hearts of those who believe. Even with a mustard seed of faith, mountains move. If we would have faith in the One who first loved us and gave us his only begotten Son, even if it is mustard-seed faith, mountains would move, and nothing would be impossible for us. Even for us who are so slow to believe that we become what we eat in this Eucharist. Walls of self-rejection collapse and mountains of self-loathing crumble before our mustard-seed faith.