Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bring Him to ME! Bible Reflection from Fr.Tom

Mt 17.17: “Bring him [the boy] to me”. This was Jesus. The disciples of Jesus had tried their best to get the boy healed before Jesus came after his tryst with God, His Father at Jesus’ transfiguration event. But nothing came of it. So Jesus somewhat disappointed asked them to bring the boy to him.

I hear him say this to me and to all who are working with young people. When we are powerless to do for a boy or girl to heal them of any weakness, Jesus tells me: Bring him/her to ME! How often we like to do things on our own but some cases need lots more of faith.

This story is much more elaborate in Mark 9.14-29 with many more interesting details. For instance, when the apostles ask Jesus why they could not cast out the demon in the boy, Jesus replies “This kind [of devil] can only come out through prayer.” Mk 17,29. So to handle the possession of some of our young people can be healed only through faith and prayer. In this context recall what Jesus said in the Gospel of John 15.5: without me you can do nothing! Faith and prayer imply that we rely more on Jesus than on our own expertise or skills alone. Sure we need expertise and skills but they avail nothing unless we have faith and prayer.

As I reflect on this simple statement of Jesus, I see this invitation to parents, teachers in schools and colleges, formation centers, parishes, hostels, youth centres with teenage boys and girls, who are not easy to handle. Bring him/ her to ME. Bring her to me in prayer. Sit with him/her to listen to them to help them discern their problem area and after having done all we can for them we bring them to the Master for his touch.

I also feel that often when we fail to help our young people, we tend to blame them and their environment and companions and all sorts of imagined causes for their behavior seldom thinking that we might be part of the problem rather than the solution. This is when we take them to Jesus. This means also that we go along with them for we might need fixing more than the one we take to Jesus. It is very unflattering to realize that we need fixing too. In the Marcan narrative, the father of the boy realized that his faith was weak, so he prayed: “I do believe, help my unbelief” Mk 9.24. In our everyday language, we could paraphrase: I have some faith but it is so weak, so small, so ineffective. Please help me to grow in faith. Jesus says: come to me and I will help you increase your faith at least to the size of the mustard seed. Bring him/her to me. Come yourself to me. Bring me yourself, your weak faith and I can help to increase it.

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