What is Faith? 10th Sunday of Matthew

jesushealsAt that time, a man came up to Jesus and kneeling before Him said, “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly; for often he falls into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to Thy disciples, and they could not heal him.” And Jesus answered, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.” And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon 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?” Jesus said to them, “Because you have no faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. This kind never comes out except by prayer and fasting.” As they were traveling together through Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and He will rise on the third day.” St. Matthew 17:14-23

We are, all of us, just like this boy. We are in need of healing: spiritual, mental, emotional, and/or physical. We ourselves are coming to Christ for healing. AND we are just like the disciples (this may sting a bit) faithless and perverse. The disciples come to him later and ask him about it and Jesus says that they could not heal the boy because of their unbelief. We hear about the mustard seed and just laugh that something so ridiculous could happen. And yet everyone I meet needs desperately for this mustard-seed-mountain-moving faith to be real.

What is faith? We may think it is agreeing to what the Church says, memorizing the Creed, going to church on Sundays and not sinning more than my neighbor. But, according to the author of the letter to the Hebrews, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

“Faith provides the seeing. The disciples could not see that they could heal the boy. It was like a fairytale to them. But faith has evidence of what remains to be seen. Faith says that if I have the faith the size of a mustard seed I will say to this mountain move and it will move. Faith says everything in the scriptures is true. Whether I can understand it or not I need to know it and take it into myself. Faith says that when I come to the Eucharist I am really receiving the body and blood of Christ and I need to come properly prepared to receive Him. Faith says that when things are difficult in my life I am to patiently endure them as a test and maybe even as a chastisement from God. Faith says that sometimes we are on the mountain with God and sometimes we are in the valley with God. By the way, the transfiguration was happening at the same time as these other 9 disciples were not healing this boy. Faith says that sometimes you have to go down the mountain – back to the world in all of it’s need and noise.”[1]


[1] Fr. Tom Soroka

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3 Comments

Filed under Scripture Rumination, Sundays, Feast Days, Other Days

3 responses to “What is Faith? 10th Sunday of Matthew

  1. pw

    Hi, I’ve been on before, and have not been able to keep up with your blog. I’ll catch up soon. I’m excited, if everything works out, I’ll be visiting and Orthodox church next Sunday. I’m so excited. New to me, but because of my heritage, part of me really wants to do it. I’ll catch up on your blog posts…I’ve been reading a lot about Orthodox lately.

  2. Sounds to me like faith is praying and fasting (or that they are the necessary result of faith). What an amazing revelation it was for this former Protestant to realize that Christ, being perfectly in communion with the Father, still prayed and fasted. (And, in fact, that’s why He did.)

  3. Reader John Herman

    If “Faith provides the seeing,” and what is seen is spiritual in nature, then it must be the very capacity of the nous for noetic perception—that is ‘noesis’; not merely a form of wishful thinking and willingness to suspend what we know of the natural order, but a capacity to see into the deeper essence of reality. Adversity becomes an opportunity to exercise my faith. I endure because I see God’s hand in it, knowing it is working in me what it should. So I endure the trial and perhaps, in time, even embrace the struggle, accept the chastisement as from God, and say, ‘Glory to God for all things!’ Faith is knowing in one’s heart that whether the valley of the shadow of death or the Holy Mountain, God is with us! So we submit ourselves; for God is with us! And, where God is, all things are possible.

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