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Monday, February 23, 2009

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St. Polycarp

Sirach 1:1-10
Psalm 93
Mark 9:14-29

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"will he find faith?" (lk 18:8, rsv-ce)

"What an unbelieving lot you are!" —Mark 9:19

Sometimes the Lord does things in our lives whether or not we have faith. Often, however, the Lord wants us to make a free decision to accept His grace. We express our freedom by faith. For example, Jesus told the father of a demon-possessed son: "Everything is possible for anyone who has faith" (Mk 9:23, JB). The father realized that Jesus was calling him to have faith. So he exclaimed: "I do believe! Help my lack of faith!" (Mk 9:24, our transl.)

In that situation, Jesus called not only the father to faith but also Jesus' disciples and the large crowd with them. Jesus said: "What an unbelieving lot you are! How long must I remain with you? How long can I endure you?" (Mk 9:19) Jesus felt frustrated with those who did not have faith or exercise it. Jesus promised: "I assure you, if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you would be able to say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible for you" (Mt 17:20). We are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8). "Without faith, it is impossible to please" God (Heb 11:6). But Jesus exclaimed: "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?" (Lk 18:8, RSV-CE)

Let us cry out to God: "I do believe! Help my lack of faith!" (Mk 9:24, our transl.)

Prayer:  Father, increase my faith, even if I have to suffer.

Promise:  "Fear of the Lord warms the heart, giving gladness and joy and length of days." —Sir 1:10

Praise:  St. Polycarp, a student of St. John the Evangelist for nearly sixteen years, was one of those early Christians honored by God to give his life in martyrdom for his King.

Reference:  (For a related teaching, order our tape Hold Fast to the Faith on audio AV 71-1 or video V-71.)

Rescript:  †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 11, 2008

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