Father Rodney Torbic

July 23 / August 5, 2018

The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost

Matthew 17:14-23

And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry. (KJV)

Coming to the Lord Jesus Christ to seek help is an act of faith. At times coming to Christ is a desperate last reaching out for help. Individuals may have pursued other means of help before coming to Christ.

In a local parish, a parishioner working at a nearby hospital called the priest to visit a patient. A member of the patient’s family said that she would never have thought about calling the priest. The priest would be the last person called.

The parishioner who had called the priest said: “Calling the priest would be her first thought.” The way individuals approach and solve problems reflects their depth of faith.

Persons of deep faith turn to Christ immediately and avail themselves of the healing power of Christ. Christ has the ability, power and authority to heal afflictions and help individuals address personal problems.

The father in the current Gospel came to Jesus seeking help for his son who was suffering severely. The distressed father turned to Christ for healing after the disciples could not cure him.

God gives each person certain abilities to care for the self. Each person has a responsibility to use the abilities wisely. Every person has the responsibility to handle problems in ways pleasing to God.

Individuals are powerless without Christ. Individuals are strengthened in Christ. The Holy Apostle Paul told the Philippians: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)

When Christ is dominant in the heart, mind and life of an individual, the empowerment by Christ becomes obvious. The peace from Christ is noticeable. Christ’s assurance becomes clear..

The disciples sought answers when they turned to Christ with their question: “Why could we not cast it out?” Turning to Christ with sincere questions leads to the answers for a better life.

Sincere questions uncover desirable solutions. The disciples turned to Christ in a time of privacy. Their hunger for an answer was evident. The disciples desired to learn from Christ.

Christ was attentive to their question. Christ is always attentive. Jesus’ answers to questions reveals much about the person asking. His answers also reveal as much about Jesus.

The soul benefits when the words of Christ are nurtured in the heart and mind. The disciples suffered from unbelief. Contemporary believers benefit when regularly evaluating the degree of personal unbelief.

Care must be taken throughout life not to reduce the complete commitment to Christ declared at Holy Baptism. Care must be taken to honor the profession of faith in the Holy Trinity.

Jesus reminded the disciples of the value of strong faith. Jesus taught the value of prayer and fasting. The Christian life requires commitment and exertion of faith. The Christian life intends believers to take definitive action.

Blessed Theophylact understands Jesus to say: “that many are by force acquiring the kingdom of heaven, that is, faith in Him.” 1 Believers seeking the kingdom of God must have the willingness to exert the necessary force.

Sacrifice is necessary to follow Christ. Temptations and diversions are to be cast aside to enter by the narrow gate. (Mt. 7:13-14) The mind is to be exercised as a barrier against temptations and yielding to sin.

Discernment is necessary to guard against attractions that put the soul in peril. Prayer and fasting strengthen a person in Christ. Faith, prayer and fasting are definitive in helping a person grow in Christ.

1 The Explanation by Blessed Theophylact of the Holy Gospel According to St. Matthew. Translated by Fr. Christopher Stade. Chrysostom Press, House Springs, Missouri, 2006, p.95.

July 23 / August 5, 2018
The Tenth Sunday after Pentecost.
Holy Martyrs Trophimus and Theophilus.

Fr. Rodney Torbic
Hidden Valley, Pennsylvania

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