Doing the Unimaginable

August 12, 2023
Saturday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Saint Jane Frances de Chantal, Religious—Optional Memorial

Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to 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. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:19–20

A man came up to Jesus, fell on his knees before Him and begged Jesus to cure his son who was possessed by a demon. The man explained that Jesus’ disciples had tried to cast the demon out, but they could not do so. Jesus’ initial response to the man was, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you?” But then Jesus had the boy brought to Him, and He cast the demon out.

The line quoted above reveals the conversation that immediately followed between Jesus and His disciples who failed to cast out the demon. It was because of their lack of faith that they were not able to do so. It should be noted that Jesus reacts firmly with a rebuke to this lack of faith as a way of emphasizing the importance of having a more pure faith.

Is it true that if you were to have “faith the size of a mustard seed” that you would be able to move a mountain? Yes, most certainly. But this statement must be carefully understood. First of all, we can only have “faith” in that which is in the mind and will of God. Faith is a response to that which God speaks to us. We listen, understand and believe. This is faith. Faith is not just believing in something so strongly that we try to will it to happen. Thus, if God truly wanted a mountain to be uprooted and moved, and He spoke this to you asking you to do it, then if you listened to His Voice and responded with complete trust, then it would happen. But, of course, the glory of God is not fulfilled by moving a literal mountain, so it is very unlikely that this would ever be done through the gift of faith.

But Jesus speaks this to His disciples and to us to assure us that we must listen, understand and believe all that He says. In the case of the curing of the boy with the demon, it is clear that it was the will of God that the disciples cast the demon out. But they failed to believe and, therefore, were unable to bring forth God’s will through their faith.

As for moving mountains, this happens on a figurative and spiritual level all the time. Any time God works in our lives in a supernatural way, or any time God uses us to work in another’s life in a supernatural way, much more than a “mountain” is moved. From an eternal perspective, what is more glorious and what gives God greater glory? To literally move a mountain? Or to be changed by grace and to be interiorly transformed by God so as to give Him eternal glory? And what is more impressive? To be able to defy the laws of physics in a way that comes and goes in an instant, or to be used to change someone’s soul for eternity? Without question, being used by God to bring transformation to another’s soul for eternity is of infinitely greater magnitude.

Reflect, today, upon the importance of listening to the Voice of God and responding with complete obedience and love. This is faith. What “mountain” does God want to move in your life? What transformation does He want to perform? Listen to Him and believe with every fiber of your being. As you do, God will not only do unimaginable things in your life, but through you, He will do unimaginable things in the lives of others.

My saving Lord, You have done incredible things in the lives of so many. You have transformed souls and recreated them in Your mercy. Please bestow upon me the gift of faith so that I will hear Your Voice and respond with the utmost generosity and belief. Use me, dear Lord, to also become an instrument of Your unimaginable grace in the lives of others. Jesus, I trust in You.