Monday of the 7th Week of the Year

Mk 9:14-29

The Healing of a Boy with a Demon


  • 365 Days with the Lord

A lawyer-friend of mine related that the doctors of his father warned him about the weak heart of his father. “When he reaches fifty years old,” the doctor said, “you had better prepare for his early demise.”

On hearing the doctors’ assessment, father and mother doubled their prayers, my friend said. Aside from their devotion to the Holy Trinity and the Holy Family, they attended an extra Mass and the Perpetual Help novena on Wednesdays. “I know this because I accompanied them,” my friend added. “Tatay (father) lived to the ripe age of 82 in 1986. He outlived all his doctors who predicted his early demise, except the last who was still young.”

“Maybe his trust in God and the help of Joseph and Mary caused his body to produce more so-called ‘faith’ or get-well substances of endorphins which prolonged his life for three more decades.”

The experience of the father above underscores the power of prayer and the words of the Lord in today’s gospel: “This kind you can drive out only by prayer.” (Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


In our world where almost all sickness is given a cure because of advanced technology, many sick people still do not rely solely on doctors and medicines. Many of them accompany their medical healing process with many prayers which show their belief in the healing power of God. Like the father in the gospel today, he has no one else to cling to but God whom he recognizes as the great healer. As he clings to Jesus and professes his faith, his son is healed. This shows the necessity of faith and prayer in the healing process. This was also affirmed by Jesus when He said to the apostles that only prayer can drive such kind of sickness and nothing else. Jesus exemplifies this faith. He is able to to heal any kind of sickness because of His deep trust and reliance in the power of His Father, expressed in His constant communication with Him through prayers. Through his trust and reliance on God, nothing is impossible for Him.

This is Christ’s challenge to us today: to have a deep trust and confidence in the power of God. When we are plagued with sickness of body or soul, do we have a strong faith and a deep trust to cling to God who can heal us? Can we further trust Him even when he does not answer our prayers the way we want Him to, knowing that he loves us as no one else can? (Sr. Rowena Pingol, SSpS Bible Diary 2004)


After giving birth to her firstborn child, a young mother telephoned her mother: “How am I going to take care of my child? I’ve never been to a school of mothering.” The mother replied: “It is your child. Use your instincts. You will learn by experience.”

It is said that there are two kinds of education, one teaches about livelihood and another teaches how to live. The first is about career education that assists in attaining economic productivity. The second is about spiritual formation that pertains to values and spiritual life. The latter maybe called as the steering wheel of the former and is otherwise called wisdom.

“All wisdom comes from the Lord,” says the book of Sirach. It is a wisdom planted by God in every human heart. It is the wisdom of experience that is not taught inside the classroom. All Christians possess this Wisdom that empowers goodness to prevail in difficult and challenging situations, and gradually bring the best in every human situation. True wisdom is manifested when a person becomes part of the solution rather than a part of the problem, when the need for strength is recognized through prayers, when the Lord is the recourse in the midst of helplessness or when spiritual values are promoted even when subjected to ridicule or embarrassment. (Fr. Fred Saniel, SVD Bible Diary 2005)


The gospel today relates a case of devil possession: a son possessed by a mute spirit. The father brought him to Jesus disciples but they could not expel the spirit until the Lord succeeded in doing it.

Devil possessions are very rare occurrences nowadays. One reason is that some possessions can be explained medically as sicknesses, like epilepsy. While this is true, possessions today cannot be dismissed outright.

The movie entitled The Exorcism of Emily Rose, based on a true story, attempts to prove the reality of devil possession. The prescribed medicine could not cure Emily but how come when the priest prayed over her, with the crucifix directed at her, the possessed girl cowered in fear; when sprinkled with holy water, she shrieked in pain as though whiplashed and the frail girl could overpower strong men?

Possessions still do happen. In modern times, however, the devil’s power and influence are more subtle. These are palpable in temptations or incitement to do evil acts or where gross immoralities and wanton disregard of God’s laws happen. These may take the form of fiendish tortures and killing of people, rape and kidnapping with murder, trafficking in drugs, pornography and so on.

An effective way to fight the devil is to resist his incitements by always doing what’s moral and legal. Prayer is also effective, as the Lord says in today’s gospel.

It is said that the weapon of St. Teresa of Avila in warding off temptations was through prayer. An amusing story is told how one morning she was inside the toilet answering the call of nature. The devil appeared to her, griping: “Teresa you never give me a chance to come near to you; you’re always praying.” Whereupon Teresa replied: “That’s not true. I give you also a chance. But remember, what comes from above is for God and what comes from below is for you.”

The devil capitalizes on human weaknesses. Are you aware of his incitements which are seemingly irresistible? Do you refuse to be his instrument of evil?

Pray that you will have the strength and willpower to resist the Prince of Evil. (Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD Bible Diary 2008)


Last year, I was assigned in one of our SVD parishes in Manila. When I was there, many people told me to be very careful because there were ghosts in the convent. Many swore that they had seen these ghosts. Our carpenter said he saw a Japanese soldier one afternoon. At another instance, our lector saw a woman at the choir loft. The musician felt creepy every time he was in the choir loft. And the office staff swore that they either heard or felt these spirits. I, too, felt the same. But every time I felt something eerie, I prayed. I also told the sacristan mayor to pray every time he complained early in the morning that he was not able to sleep.

I have narrated this to you because our gospel talks about the presence of evil spirits. This simply reminds us that they truly exist. They are not mere pigments of our imagination or ultra-sensitive sensory organs. But do we need to be afraid of them? Today’s gospel provides some kind of protection against these spirits. It teaches us that only by praying to God can we oust them. If we know how to pray and if we believe in the power of prayer, why should we be afraid of evil spirits? We just have to call the name of Jesus. The secret is prayer and nothing else.

Thus pray and be always connected to God for he will save you and will never forsake you when evil spirits surround you. (Fr. Ross Heruela, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


May 16, 2016 Monday

A confrere, after having worked in Congo for more than forty years, asked permission to go back to his home country. He had difficulties with his hands and could no longer hold a hammer. Mustering all courage a young Congolese confrere approached him and said: “Father, why are you leaving Congo?” He replied, “I am no longer of use here since I’m getting frail.” The young man said: “But father, we want you here with us not because of your work but of your presence.” The old confrere learned a new lesson. “Young man, had you said that before I asked for transfer, I would have stayed with you in Congo.”

“How long will I be with you?” Jesus asked in exasperation. He was absent just for a short while up on the mountain and down on the plane he saw the havoc. He perceived his disciples with confused faces, a large crowd making lots of noise, arguing and discussing with the scribes. In their midst a young boy convulsing held by his poor father. Now the picture was clear. While Jesus was away the father approached his disciples and asked for help. Without Jesus the disciples were helpless. They must have been very embarrassed facing the crowd and the Jewish authorities.

In the beginning of Mark’s Gospel it was said that Jesus appointed twelve “that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach”. Being with him was a necessary requisite before announcing Jesus to others. This episode showed what happened if Jesus was absent in the life of the apostles. After the resurrection of Jesus he manifested his presence to his disciples, working with them as they preached, confirming their message accompanied by the signs.

If Jesus is present in the life of a missionary his presence is very important for strengthening the faith of the community. If God is there, the devil cannot be there. Through prayer we can drive Satan away. “Everything is possible to one who has faith,” Jesus assures us. We pray: “We do believe, help our unbelief”. (Fr. Xene Sanchez, SVD | Congo, Africa Bible 2016)


CROSS IS A BLESSING (Mk 9:23-27): I was once asked why I always mentioned St. Charles (or San Carlos) Borromeo in my Masses. St. Charles Borromeo, the Archbishop of Milan, is the patron saint of San Carlos Seminary in Guadalupe, Makati where I graduated. He was a cardinal at the age of 24. His statue at the seminary presents him holding a Bible with his left hand and a crucifix with his right hand, both are pressed close to his heart.

The roles of prophet are to proclaim the Word of God, which is the Gospel and to proclaim the mystery of the cross in his own life. San Carlos Borromeo was very much a prophet, for him, to preach the gospel was to suffer the cross and to suffer the cross was to preach the gospel.

Somebody who preaches the gospel but is not willing and ready to suffer for the gospel is a bogus preacher. In the same way, somebody who bears sacrifices s and endures the cross but who is unable to teach people the truth that beyond the cross is Christ, waiting for us to reward us for our suffering, is likewise a bogus preacher.

San Carlos proclaimed that anyone who wants to teach about God should also be ready to embrace the cross. It was also in this manner that he accepted the cross. Without having to utter a word, San Carlos, b his own life, already preached the gospel.

I love San Carlos, not because he was a cardinal. I love him because he is a reminder of how we should live as Christians. The role of the prophet is not simply limited to us, priests. The role of being a prophet is open to all of us. We too, should be holding the Bible and crucifix close to our hearts. As Christians we are known as followers of the cross. The cross is meaningless without Christ and Christ is also meaningless without the cross. Christ needs the cross to suffer for us. There can be no salvation without the cross, there can be no salvation without Christ. What the world needs is not a Christless cross, not a crossless Christ  to our hearts. As Christians we are known as followers of the cross. The cross is meaningless without Christ and Christ is also meaningless without the cross. Christ needs the cross to suffer for us. There can be no salvation without the cross, there can be no salvation without Christ. What the world needs is not a Christless cross, not a crossless Christ but Christ upon the cross. We start the Mass by making the sign of the cross. We also make it before the reading of the gospel. The sign of the cross identifies us as Christians, in the same way that the Jews are identified through the star of David and the Communists by the sickle and hammer. Some people make the sign of the cross very devoutly. Others do it as if they were waving off flies from their noses. If we cannot make the sign of cross properly, how can we make the sign of the cross in our hearts? We should rejoice in the cross.

At the end of the Mass, the sign of the cross we make is no longer to identify us but to bless us. Priests cannot bless without making the sign of the cross. Those who are not willing to take up the cross have no right to be blessed. In every blessing is a cross and in every cross is a blessing.

Let us rejoice and thank God that we carry the Cross day by day because the crosses in our life are also our blessings. (Socrates Villegas, Only Jesus Always Jesus pp. 35-36).


DANGEROUS PRAYER (Mk 9:29): Did you ever wonder why the Lord said: “This kind of spirit, you can only cast out by prayer?” the philosophical importance of this is that there maybe evil spirit that can be cast out without prayer. If the Lord says, “This kind of spirit, you can only cast out by prayer,” this means there are other spirits that maybe cast out even without prayer.

It is like saying that not every disease can be cured by surgery. You do not heal pneumonia by surgery. This would be ridiculous. In the same that not all diseases can be cured by antibiotics. There are specific cures for specific ailments.

Some spiritual evils can actually be aggravated by prayer. Laziness is an example. Laziness cannot be cured by prayer. If you pray, you will become lazier. Laziness is cured by action and service. Childishness cannot be cured by prayer. Why? The more you pray, the more childish you become. The way to cure childishness is to act like a mature adult and serve other people other examples are illusions. Illusions cannot be cured by prayer, because prayer can make you go from one illusion to the next.

On the other hand, evil spirits such as impatience, anger and impurity can be cured by prayer. These evils can be lessened by prayer. Other evils, on the other hand, will only be aggravated by prayer.

When you are tormented by the evil one, do not fly into prayer immediately because this could aggravate the situation for you.

Know the sickness first, then, apply the medicine. You do not heal pneumonia by surgery. You do not heal common colds by antibiotics. Not every spiritual disease can be overcome by prayer. Some spiritual diseases the situation for you.

Know the sickness first, then, apply the medicine. You do not heal pneumonia by surgery. You do not heal common colds by antibiotics. Not every spiritual disease can be overcome by prayer. Some spiritual diseases are better overcome by action. (Socrates Villegas, Jesus Loves You, pp. 202-203)


Our gospel is a unique story about the failure of disciples to cure a person who, from the indications described by the narrative, could have been suffering from epilepsy. This is a word of caution for us who speak about our belief in God. Only God is God; even we who are His closest and possibly, most anointed messengers should never think that our powers are equal to Him!

Two points underlined by the Gospel:

1.    Value of family spirit. Only the boy was sick, yet the father declared to Jesus: “… if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Whatever is happening to the boy, all the members of the family are affected, each one, especially the parents, should show genuine love and concern through empathy. The joy of one is the joy of all; the pain of one should be the burden and concern of all. Such a unity of heart and mind is one secret to prayer that prevails! Did not Jesus himself say: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them,” (Mt. 18:20).

2.    Virtue of prayerful mission. Jesus pointed out that the failure of the disciples was because of their lack of prayer. Prayer speaks of a humble disposition – relying on God to act with one’s moves and intentions. With their lack of prayer, the disciples did not only lack time and ritual for prayer. More than this, probably because of their long time exposure to delegated authority to preach, heal and cure in the name of Jesus, the disciples could have been overbearing and overconfident! In most cases, even in athletic meets, the failure of the best is due to an overbearing and overconfident disposition. (Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP, New Every Morning, New Everyday, p. 169)


Reflection: Is it possible for the disciples to lack faith? Yes, even if they were always with Jesus it was very possible for them to lack faith. Perhaps because they were with Jesus everyday it became ordinary for them already that they treated Jesus as one of them. The extra ordinary discipleship with Jesus became ordinary for them.

That’s why they did not have anymore that strong faith and add to this was their lack of prayerful life. The end result of their lack of faith and prayer was their failure to drive out the bad spirit from the boy. Therefore Jesus admonished them to strengthen their faith and give more fire to their prayer life.

Why are there marriage failures? It’s because both spouses often times forget to have faith on the sacredness of their marriage. By being together everyday they become very familiar with each other. That their treatment with each other becomes ordinary. There’s no more fervent unifying  prayer life in their marriage thus their marriage becomes the casualty.

Let us take personally the admonishment of Jesus to the disciples to have faith and to have a more blazing prayer life. Let us take it  as an advice also to us to have faith on our own marriages and to put more fire on our prayer life as a family.

If only we will have faith on our own marriages, if only we will not treat it as an ordinary union and if only we will integrate prayer life in our respective families. There would be no more failures in marriage. … (Marino J. Dasmarinas)


WEDDING LESSONS – “I do believe. Help my unbelief.” – Mark 9:24

We chose to get married on the first day of July, which is the rainy season in the Philippines. Our venue was partly outdoors, so we prayed and sought the intercession of Sta. Clara for a sunny day.

night before the wedding, it was raining cats and dogs. I tried my best to be optimistic but it wasn’t letting up. I got stuck in the parking lot after an errand because the rain poured and I couldn’t get out of the car.

I panicked. God wasn’t keeping His promise of a beautiful wedding.

I stayed for 20 minutes in the car, and I believe that was God’s way of keeping me still to listen to Him. A beautiful wedding is not dependent on the weather but on the couple’s commitment to love one another in Christ.

I woke up to a sunny, clear sky on my wedding day. It was a complete 180-degree turn from the day before. Amazing.

It’s so easy to lose faith when things don’t seem to go according to plan. But God is able to restore our faith. Then He works His wonders. Kitty D. Ferreria (

Pope Francis Says: “Let us put ourselves in the hand of God, like a child puts himself in his daddy’s hands. That is a hand that is sure.”

Lord, keep me faithful so I can witness Your wonders in my life.


PRAYER BEYOND PETITIONS – Today’s Gospel passage is a continuation of the events on Mount Tabor. Jesus, with Peter, James and John, went up a mountain and there, while in an intense state of prayer, He was transfigured before the Apostles. A glimpse of His divinity was given to the Apostles, so much so that Peter spoke of camping on the mountain.

Once down the mountain, a man whose son was possessed by a mute spirit approached Jesus. He told Jesus of the Apostles’ inability to expel the spirit. After a brief reprimand of the Apostles, Jesus exorcised the boy Himself and he became completely sane afterwards. In private, the disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to expel the spirit. Jesus replied, “This kind, you can drive out only by prayer” (v. 29).

Weren’t the Apostles men of prayer? Why were they unable to expel it? Jesus was talking about a different kind of prayer here — different from our usual understanding of prayer as asking God for favors.

Fr. Mariano Agruda III, prior of Our Lady of the Hills Center for Spirituality, once said, “Genuine prayer is dangerous because it will put God where he truly belongs in your life.” By that, he means at the center of our life. He added, “It will remove things that  obstruct the full unfolding of God’s will in your life. God will take over your life. That force will change you.”

No wonder the Apostles could not exorcise the Spirit. They have yet to learn that radical form of prayer. God was not yet the true center of their lives. And if God was not yet the true center of their lives, with what power can they exorcise the spirit?

Today, Jesus invites us to this true kind of prayer. It is dangerous because it will be demanding. It asks us to put ourselves on the side and allow God to take full control. True prayer is giving God the license to own us, to have His way with us. Only the brave can do that. Are you one of them? Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: Are you ready to ask God to expel whatever in your life is preventing Him from taking His proper place?

“I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done to me as you say” (Luke 1:38). Amen.


May 16, 2016

 Monday of the Seventh Week in Ordinary Time

James 3: 13-18; Mark 9:14-29

The Power of Faith in Prayer

The Language of Faith: Jesus’ language was one of faith, which the disciples and associates did not understand in many occasions. The Apostles found themselves wanting in faith, in understanding Jesus and in being part of His ministry. So also the father of the “possessed boy” who came seeking a miracle exhibited a lack of faith. So Jesus quips: “How unbelieving you people are!” (Mk 9:19). This prompted them to pray, “Lord, increase our faith” (Mk 9: 24). This was one shining moment in the lives of the Apostles with Jesus when they realized how weak they are in faith, and how Jesus could help them increase in their faith. This shall be my prayer too, today: “Lord, increase my faith”. Perhaps this is the best prayer we can ever make. When I have an increase of faith I will see the world differently, I will see it through the eyes of God.

Increase of Faith: The readings for our reflection today present us with three stages of growth in faith. These stages are, 1. Trust and confidence; 2. Patience and perseverance; and 3. Gratitude.

Faith as TRUST and CONFIDENCE: Faith is power. Faith can move mountains. A man of faith can work wonders and miracles. Jesus said, “if you have faith as little as the mustard seed, tell this mulberry tree to be uprooted and go and plant itself in the sea, it will obey you”. Jesus constantly taught us about the need to have a trusting faith. Have faith in the Lord, and “ask, it shall be granted unto you.” Again, Jesus said, “Whatsoever you ask to the Father in my name, He will give you”. The scripture teaches us that nothing is impossible for God and He will grand everything to those who ask Him in faith. Faith, in this level is the unwavering confidence in the providence of God. A man of faith is one who can do miracles and wonders, for, his prayers are all powerful with the Lord. This is why we often measure the faith of a person with his/her ability to work miraculous signs. No wonder, the world is after “faith-healers” and “faith-preachers” who, because of the strength of their faith and power of their prayers are able to bring instant healing and make impossible things happen.

Have confidence in the Lord. Believe and trust that His promises are true. Live in His loving and caring presence. God will not allow His children to suffer and ruin. This is faith. Yet, this is only the first level of faith.

Faith as PATIENCE and PERSISTENCE: As I grow in faith I realize that faith is not about “asking and receiving” and that faith does not consist in a carrot and stick approach. It is a common experience of faith that God does not grant whatever I ask. God gives me only what is best for me. Faith does not take me on a jolly-good ride, rather it takes me on the way of the cross. My growth in faith is marked with my journey through the dark nights of the soul. Faith tells me that God is nearer than ever, that He is within me and He cares for me. At the same time I painfully realize that I am being tested and troubled. Even when I cry out to Him with all my energy and strength, many a time God seems to be so far, far away. I cry out day in and day out but God does not seem to answer me. Be patient. Be patient! His prayers will be answered not in his time, but in God’s time. When God seems silent to my cries for help, it is not that He does not answer my prayer. He is asking me to wait. He is preparing something better than what I have asked for.

The test of faith is patience. How patient am I with myself, with my brothers and sisters, and with God? How well do I persist in trials and dark moments of life and faith?

Faith as GRATITUDE: The attitude of faith grows from confidence to patience and culminates in gratitude. The highest expression of faith is gratitude. Faith is demanding. It demands the faithful to be loyal, obedient and humble before the Lord. Faith demands that I conform myself to the will of God. Faith demands that I be grateful for all that the Lord has planned for me. The foremost sentiment I have before the Lord is that of gratitude that the Lord has made me part of His grace and mission.

I believe in the Lord not because He will grand me what I ask for, nor because His promises are awaited, but because He has given me the gift of faith, and His will for me is greater than what I can hope for. This is why I will rejoice in whatever the Lord will permit in my life. Now I see not by reason but by faith.

Faith is growing in the awareness that whatever I receive from the hands of God—happiness or sorrow—is all for my good and that makes me feel grateful. Growing in faith is growing in the ability to offer my life as a sacrifice of gratitude to God. All that I see now may be pain, trouble, darkness and destruction… but faith helps me see the hands of God holding and leading me to the shore of light and glory. Thanks be to Him forever and ever! Fr. James Thayil CMI


May 16, 2016

REFLECTION:    Few of us have ever witnessed or will ever witness a diabolic possession. Of course we have all seen films like The Exorcist (1973) and have perhaps heard of cases of possession through the grapevine, but we do not have a first-hand experience of what a ­diabolic possession really is. And that is why a story like that of today’s gospel reading does not really grip us. In fact, some people do not even believe that there is a Devil or that diabolic possessions exist.

But we do have what could be called our inner demons: irrational fears, beliefs, impulses which could take over our lives if we would let them. We are afraid of these strange forces and try to ignore them. But they do not go away. Only people of prayer can exorcise their inner demons and achieve deep peace. As Jesus says in our gospel reading, “only prayer can drive out this kind, nothing else.” For through persevering prayer we come to see the depth of our sinfulness, our utter powerlessness and need of God, our “lostness.” In prayer we implore God to exorcise our inner demons (pride, hate, lust, envy, etc.), and in time he always does. That is why the saints are so radiant.


8 Mayumi Street, U.P. Village, Diliman, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel.: (02) 921-3984, 922-9806 • Fax: (02) 921-6205


Monday, May 16, 2016

MONDAY OF THE 7TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – MARCOS 9:14-29. UNSA MAY ANGAY’NG BUHATON TALIWALA SA MGA PAGSUWAY SA KINABUHI? Usahay, ang atong pagtoo sa Dios pagasuwayon sa mga dagkong problema ug kasakitan. Aduna man gani panahon nga mawad-an kita’g paglaum ug pagsalig sa gahum sa Dios. Diha sa ebanghelyo, ang amahan sa usa ka bata nga giyawaan naghatag kanato’g maayong panig-ingnan sa pag-ampo: “Ginoo, tabangi ang akong gamay nga pagtoo.” Angay usab kitang mag-ampo niini tungod kay ang kinabuhi dinhi sa kalibotan dili sayon ug usahay lisod kaayo’ng dawaton. Matod pa sa inila nga Irish Fisherman’s Prayer: “Lord, be good to me. The ocean is so wide and my boat is so small.” Taliwala sa dakong lawod sa kinabuhi, mosalig kita nga ang tanang butang nga mahitabo adunay rason ug nga ang Ginoo magpatigayon sa tanan alang sa atong kaayohan Posted by Abet Uy


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Monday of the 7th Week of the Year

This entry was posted in zz. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s