READINGS for 2009-02-23
REBUKING THE dEvIl
“This kind can only come out through prayer.” – Mark 9:29
I never go to bed without blessing my children with holy water as I make the sign of the cross on their foreheads and pronounce a blessing over them. One night, as I blessed one of my daughters who was burning with fever, she moaned as she slept soundly. I was then led to sprinkle her whole body with holy water. Suddenly, she bolted up and started screaming as if in extreme pain. She turned away from me and tried to climb the wall by her bedside as though she was trying to escape. Every time the holy water touched her skin, she would scream excruciatingly. I began to rebuke the evil spirit that was oppressing her. I continued to pray in tongues until she calmed down and fell asleep again.
The next day, she woke up without any recollection of what happened the night before. Also, her fever was gone. It was neither my prayer that did it nor because I was “spiritually strong.” Praying just aligned me with the will of God, which allowed Him to work through me.
Yes, Jesus still casts out demons in this day and age through us who believe in His sovereignty over all. Ronna Ledesma
The Lord contends with him who contends with you and He shall save your children.
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your promise that You will be with us until the end of the age.
In many ways the wisdom literature of the Jews is a celebration of the wonders of God and how He allows us to share in them, albeit in a far reduced form due to our inability to fully grasp all that He is teaching us. We begin this book by stating that all wisdom comes from the Lord. In other words, all truth comes from the Lord. This means that our lives ought to be one long search for all that is right and true. May we all never forget this aspect of our calling and seek to grow in the knowledge of the truth daily.
1 All wisdom comes from the LORD and with him it remains forever. 2 The sand of the seashore, the drops of rain, the days of eternity: Who can number these? 3 Heaven’s height, earth’s breadth, the depths of the abyss: Who can explore these? 4 Before all things else wisdom was created; and prudent understanding, from eternity. 5 To whom has wisdom’s root been revealed? Who knows her subtleties? 6 There is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring, seated upon his throne: 7 It is the LORD; he created her, has seen her and taken note of her. 8 He has poured her forth upon all his works, upon every living thing according to his bounty; he has lavished her upon his friends. 9 Fear of the LORD is glory and splendor, gladness and a festive crown. 10 Fear of the LORD warms the heart, giving gladness and joy and length of days.
P S A L M
Psalm 93:1ab. 1cd-2. 5
R: The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
1 The LORD is king, in splendor robed; robed is the LORD and girt about with strength. (R) And he has made the world firm, not to be moved. 2 Your throne stands firm from of old; from everlasting you are, O LORD. (R) 5 Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed holiness befits your house, O LORD, for length of days. (R)
G O S P E L
St. Polycarp, the man whose feast day we remember today, was martyred as an old man when he refused to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods. He refused to deny his faith and so lost his life to the sword. He knew by faith that this was the better choice to make — to lose his earthly life is but a very small thing in comparison to endangering his eternal salvation. Let us think in these terms the next time we are
tempted to sin.
14 As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James and John and approached the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them. 15 Immediately on seeing him, the whole crowd was utterly amazed. They ran up to him and greeted him. 16 He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit. 18 Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.” 19 He said to them in reply, “O faithless generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.” 20 They brought the boy to him. And when he saw him, the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions. As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around and foam at the mouth. 21 Then he questioned his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” He replied, “Since childhood. 22 It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 Jesus said to him, “ ‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.” 24 Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!” 25 Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, “Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!” 26 Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out. He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up. 28 When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, “Why could we not drive it out?” 29 He said to them, “This kind can only
come out through prayer.”
think: Let us seek to grow in the knowledge of the truth daily.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
Thank You Lord for: ____________________________________
READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Ephesians 4-6
My weekly time with God
THANK YOU LIST
Things to be grateful for from the past week
Things to ask God for in the coming week
Most important word God told me this week
helP my unBelief
There is a scene in the Gospel today that is quite dramatic. Jesus has just returned from the mountain. Down below, there is an argument and tension going on as the disciples struggle in bringing healing and peace to a boy possessed by an evil spirit. The boy, upon being brought to Jesus, is thrown into convulsion. And again at the command of Jesus, the boy is thrown into convulsion, shouting and making a commotion. Dramatic.
The boy and his family suffered immensely because of this predicament. The boy is thrown into water and fire by the possession of the evil spirit. The father has come to the end of his tether having found no resolution to his boy’s suffering. Jesus comes to set the prisoners free. This boy has been imprisoned and bound through the mute and deaf spirit.
The faith of the man is tested here. He is a believer. He has faith but like most of us he is often riddled with doubt and uncertainty. The response of the faith is our response. Lord, I do believe, but help my unbelief. Faith is often tested. It is a gift from the Lord given to us and we must at times ask for it to be strengthened. We should never take faith for granted. How many of our friends do not have faith, are struggling in their faith, have given into unbelief and uncertainty? The evil one has won the battle if that is the case. Therefore, we must never tire of asking the Lord for the gift of faith. The man seeks the Lord to have compassion. The Lord is willing and brings restoration to the boy and his family. Their faith is strengthened through this event.
Do you struggle with unbelief? Do you sometimes doubt the Lord’s compassion and love? Do you know some people who are in need of healing and seemingly not receiving it? Let Jesus take you by the hand and increase your faith. Let Him take away all the things that bind you and possess you. Let His Spirit come and make you whole. Fr. Brian Steele, MGL
Where in my life do I lack trust, hope and belief?
Lord, I believe in You. Help my unbelief. Amen.
St. Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr, pray for us.
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