BELIEF AND UNBELIEF AT AND AFTER CHRISTMAS: keeping an open mind.
On Christmas Eve I attended a church that most Sundays is lucky to be half full.
On Monday it was standing room only – with two more Masses that day still to come.
Special occasions can bring out faith which at other times wavers.
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A man came to Jesus saying: “Master, my son is possessed by a devil which seizes him, making him foam at the mouth and fall to the ground. I asked your disciples to drive it out but they could not.”
Jesus answered, “O unbelieving generation, how long must I bear with you? Bring him to me.”
Immediately the spirit threw the boy down and he rolled about foaming.
The father said, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
Jesus said, “If you can believe, all things are possible.”
With tears, the father replied: “Lord, I do believe: help my unbelief.”
Jesus took him by the hand, lifted him and he stood up.
Later the disciples asked: “Why could not we cast it out?”
Jesus said: “This kind can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”
(Saint Mark’s Gospel)
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It seems Jesus had no problem with shaky faith — but disliked failure of self-discipline in those claiming to be true disciples.
Composer, John Rutter, recently said, “When I take a sacred text, I believe every syllable of it while I am setting it to music . . . when I have finished I go back to being agnostic . . . .” (Limelight magazine, January 2013)
Sad . . . but are we not all a bit the same? May God strengthen us.
May our Christmas faith (or almost faith) grow and develop in the coming New Year.