Old Calendar: St. Peter Celestine, pope and confessor;
St. Pudentiana, virgin;
RM St. Ives
From: Mark 9:14-29
The Curing of an Epileptic Boy
 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd about them, and scribes arguing with them.  And immediately all the crowd when they saw Him (Jesus), were greatly amazed, and ran up to Him and greeting Him.  And He asked them, "What are you discussing with them?"  And one of the crowd answered Him, "Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit;  and wherever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked Your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able."  And He answered them, "Oh faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to Me."  And they brought the boy to Him; and when the spirit saw Him, immediately it convulsed the body, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.  And Jesus asked his father, "How long has he had this?" And he said, "From childhood.  And it has often cash him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if You can do anything, have pity on us and help us."  And Jesus said to him, "If you can! All things are possible to him who believes."  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!"  And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again."  After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, "He is dead."  But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.  And when He had entered the house, His disciples asked Him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?"  And He said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting."
17. The demon who possessed this boy is described as a "dumb spirit" because dumbness was the main feature of the possession. On diabolic possession cf. note on Matthew 12:22-24.
19-24. As on other occasions, Jesus requires submission of faith before He works the miracle. The exclamation of Jesus refers to the request of the boy's father (verse 22), which seemed to suggest some doubt about God's omnipotence. The Lord corrects this way of asking and requires him to have firm faith. In verse 24 we can see that the father has quite changed; then Jesus does the miracle. The man's strengthened faith made him all-powerful, for someone with faith relies not on himself but on Jesus Christ. Through faith, then, we become sharers in God's omnipotence. But faith is a gift of God, which man, especially at times when he is wavering, should ask humbly and tenaciously, like the father of this boy: "I believe, help my unbelief," and like the Apostles: "Increase our faith!" (Luke 17:5).
28-29. "In teaching the Apostles how to expel a spirit as evil as this He is teaching all of us how we should live, and telling us that prayer is the resource we should use to overcome even the severest temptations, whether they come from unclean spirits or from men. Prayer does not consist only in the words we use to invoke God's clemency but also in everything we do, out of faith, as homage to God.
The Apostle bears witness to this when he says: `Pray constantly' (1 Thessalonians 5:7)" (St. Bede, "In Marci Evangelium Expositio, in loc.").
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.