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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Today’s Reading | Matthew 17:14–21

When they came to the crowd, a man came to him, 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.” (NRSV)

It’s not uncommon for us to read about Jesus performing miracles and curing men and women of unfortunate diseases, demons, and illnesses, many of which often ostracize them from society. Jesus willingly takes on these requests throughout his eventual journey to the cross, but the constant requests eventually take a toll on Christ as we read in this scripture. We have to remember that Jesus isn’t using some magic spell to cure these individuals. Instead, he is using his immeasurable strength, faith, and love that he so desires his disciples to embrace within themselves.

In this scripture, we learn about this strength through the comparison to a small mustard seed. As Jesus details, though the seed (faith) is small, it is able to move mountains. Mustard seeds often “outdo” themselves and grow in fields at abnormal rates. Jesus longs for his disciples and followers to do the same with their faith, that they may be able to “cure” their loved ones in the same way through prayer and love for one another.

I witness the complexities of the mustard seed every day--in my work, in my personal relationships, and as someone who keeps up with public affairs. I encounter hundreds of individuals that society casts aside as “crazy” or “scary” because society doesn’t understand the complications of mental health. It is common for us to be afraid of what we don’t know or what we don’t understand.

But our challenge from Christ is to not cast these individuals aside simply because we don’t immediately understand. Our challenge is to let our faith and love permeate to those who feel left out, run down, and misunderstood. A simple smile, a genuine “Good morning,” and taking the time to better learn about someone’s life experiences can do and mean so much.

Christ of immeasurable love, remind us to foster the faith and strength within our hearts to reach out to those most in need. Remind us to cultivate our mustard seed of faith and let our love grow in abundance for all of God’s people. Amen.

Written by Jackie Lorens, Director,
Chicago Lights Elam Davies Social Service Center

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