08Aug 08 August, 2020. Saturday of Week 18

08 August, 2020. Saturday of Week 18

St Dominic, priest (Memorial)

1st Reading: Habakkuk 1:12-2:4

When the prophet questions God he learns that the just will live by faith

Are you not from of old, O Lord my God, my Holy One? You shall not die.
O Lord, you have marked them for judgment; and you, O Rock, have established them for punishment.
Your eyes are too pure to behold evil, and you cannot look on wrongdoing;
why do you look on the treacherous, and are silent when the wicked swallow those more righteous than they?
You have made people like the fish of the sea, like crawling things that have no ruler.
The enemy brings all of them up with a hook; he drags them out with his net, he gathers them in his net; so he rejoices and exults.
Therefore he sacrifices to his net and makes offerings to his net; for by them his portion is lavish, and his food is rich.
Is he then to keep on emptying his net, and destroying nations without mercy?
I will stand at my watchpost, and station myself on the rampart;
I will keep watch to see what he will say to me, and what he will answer concerning my complaint.
Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so that a runner may read it.
For there is still a vision for the appointed time; it speaks of the end, and does not lie.
If it seems to tarry, wait for it; it will surely come, it will not delay.
Look at the proud! Their spirit is not right in them, but the righteous live by their faith.

Responsorial: from Psalm 9

R./: You never forsake those who seek you, O Lord

The Lord sits enthroned forever;
he has set up his throne for judgment.
He judges the world with justice;
he governs the peoples with equity. (R./)

The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed,
a stronghold in times of distress.
They trust in you who cherish your name,
for you forsake not those who seek you, O Lord. (R./)

Sing praise to the Lord enthroned in Zion;
proclaim his mighty deeds among the nations;
For the One who restores justice has remembered;
he has not forgotten the cry of the poor. (R./)

Gospel: Matthew 17:14-20

Jesus states the power of faith to cure the sick and to move mountains

When they came to the crowd, a man came to Jesus, knelt before him, and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; he often falls into the fire and often into the water. And I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” Jesus answered, “You faithless and perverse generation, how much longer must I be with you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was cured instantly.

Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”


The miraculous and the routine

Today’s texts link faith with trust, and miracles with life’s normal routine. A balanced spirituality needs to take account of all aspects and not focus exclusively on any single side.

The prophet Habakkuk is distressed by God’s apparent indifference to injustice on this earth, “Why do you look on the treacherous, and are silent?” God can tolerate these challenges and yet remain silent. God gives no explanation why the more wicked Babylonians are to punish the less wicked Jerusalemites. God’s simple reply becomes the basis of Paul’s dictum that “The just person lives by faith” (Rom 1:17).

The full impact of faith is seen in the Gospel, where faith cures the sick, drives out demons and moves mountains. This is a metaphor to emphasise Jesus’ final words, “Nothing will be impossible for you,” if you have faith. He reminds us that our life is involved in a struggle between superhuman forces of good and evil. We are called to daily expressions of faith, faith that prompts us even to question God like Habakkuk, yet faith that nonetheless reaches beyond human expectations – into the world to come.

Too little faith

The gospel says that Jesus rebukes his disciples for their little faith. He doesn’t say that they have no faith but tells them that they have little faith. They had just failed in their efforts to do the work that Jesus had sent them to do, bringing healing to a sick child. Jesus attributes this failure to their little faith. Many of us may find it easy to identify with the disciples. We think of ourselves as people of faith but we sense that our faith is not as strong as it could be. We don’t trust the Lord enough. We have that striking promise of Jesus in the gospel that if our faith was as small even as a mustard seed we could move mountains. Jesus wanted his disciples to grow in their faith; it is what he wants for all of us. In response to that desire of Jesus for a stronger faith within us, we could make our own the prayer of the father of the sick child that we find in Mark’s version of this story, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief.”


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