Master, I brought my son to you, possessed by a mute spirit
At the sight of Jesus the spirit shook the boy with convulsions and he, having fallen to the ground, rolled and foamed.
Jesus, seeing the crowd rushing, threatened the unclean spirit saying: "Spirit dumb and deaf, I order you, get out of him and never go back.
Gospel - Mark [9, 14-29]
And when He came to the disciples, He saw them surrounded by a large crowd and by scribes arguing with them. The whole crowd, seeing him, was amazed and ran to greet him. And he asked them: "What are you arguing with them about?" One of the crowd answered him: "Master, I have brought my son to you, possessed by a mute spirit. When he catches him, he throws him to the ground and he froths, grinds his teeth and stiffens. I told your disciples to drive him away, but they have not succeeded". He then in response said to them, "O incredulous generation! How long will I stay with you? How long will I have to endure you? Bring him to me". And they brought it to him. At the sight of Jesus the spirit shook the boy with convulsions and he, having fallen to the ground, rolled and foamed. Jesus asked his father: "How long has this been happening to him?".
And he replied: "From infancy; indeed, he often even threw him into fire and water to kill him. But if you can do anything, have mercy on us and help us". Jesus said to him: "If you can! Everything is possible for those who believe". The child's father replied aloud: "I believe, help me in my unbelief". Then Jesus, seeing the crowd rushing, threatened the unclean spirit saying: "Spirit dumb and deaf, I order you, get out of him and never go back". And screaming and shaking him hard, he got out. And the child became as if dead, so that many said: "He is dead". But Jesus, taking him by the hand, lifted him up and he stood up.
He then entered a house and the disciples asked him in private: "Why couldn't we drive him out?". And he said to them, "This kind of demons cannot be cast out in any way, except by prayer".
Exegesis - Gospel Mark [9, 14-29]In Mark's narration, the healing of the demon-possessed young man immediately follows the account of the Transfiguration, where Jesus manifests himself in his identity to three of his disciples. Now, in the present passage, Jesus descends from the mountain and, having arrived at the other nine disciples left at the foot of the mountain, he sees the scribes arguing with them. Although the disciples had received the power to cast out demons, they had not been able to free the possessed boy.
The scribes made a mockery of him to mock Jesus and the power he gave to his disciples; but how does Jesus respond to the provocation? He fights the evil spirit that imprisons that child, and frees him. How is it possible that Jesus is able to drive him out? All the Gospels tell us how the liberation of the devil takes place, and how the possessed always behave in the same way: they grind their teeth, they froth from their mouths, they are stiffened by a mysterious force that throws them to the ground, sometimes into fire or water, dislocates their bones under the power of the unclean spirit.
The possessed are no longer able to dominate themselves, they are subjugated by this force that destroys all will, all reasonableness and leads them to a devastation that pushes them to self-destruction; however no one can blame them, because the signs that are seen are similar to madness, to hatred.
In this text we are presented with a child who even from childhood was subject to this evil force, but when Jesus questions his father he receives an important answer: "if you can do anything, have mercy on us and help us", to which Jesus replies: "everything is possible for those who believe", and it is as if he said "I have come to defeat the diabolical power, however I cannot act yet, because I am waiting to see if you really trust".
Here is the admission of that father: "I believe, help me in my unbelief", which in synthesis is that act of faith that Jesus awaits and that allows him, now, to act: "Dumb and deaf spirit, I will do it for you. I order, get out of him and never go back". And shouting and shaking him strongly, he went out". The devil is defeated!
We too can be exposed to the action of this diabolical force, by which even Jesus himself, as the Gospels tell us, was tempted. Let us always remember the characteristics of temptation: beautiful to look at, easy to fulfill, so persuasive and within reach so as not to see anything wrong in welcoming it. Sometimes the attack is even more subtle, suggesting that very good Jesus did not protect us, did not prevent us from falling into sickness or misfortune: this is a targeted action of the demon, who wishes to tear us away from the One who can free us. and save.
The Gospel passage in question teaches us that faith nourished by prayer is the condition in which God's work takes shape. The disciples, who disappeared from the scene after Jesus' reproach "unbelieving generation", are now in the quiet of a house, far from the crowd, together with the Master: sorry and confused, they do not understand why their action was ineffective, "because we could not drive him away". Jesus is there with them, his words have the certainty of those who govern the situation, of those who ask His disciples for the courage of trust, an essential condition for having the gift of defeating evil.
We ask the Lord to nourish more and more in us the capacity for discernment, and to make us understand what comes from Jesus and what comes from Satan.