“For, amen I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed…”

From the Gospel according to Matthew

And when he was come to the multitude, there came to him a man falling down on his knees before him, saying: Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic, and suffereth much: for he falleth often into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.Then Jesus answered and said: O unbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked him, and the devil went out of him, and the child was cured from that hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus secretly, and said: Why could not we cast him out?  Jesus said to them: Because of your unbelief. For, amen I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, Remove from hence hither, and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible to you. But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.  [17:14-20 DR]

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  1. FranzJosf says:

    I’ve heard many people get what is, in my opinion, the wrong message here. They change the words to ‘as small as a mustard seed’. It doesn’t say “small”; it says “as.” In fact, a mustard seed has a LARGE inherent potential. It can grow into something that can crack a rock. How do I build my personal faith to a similar inherent strength? “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” No wonder that clerics must recite the Office! The Church is amazing. (But one must shun all jesuitical perspectives when reading the Word of God; one must be teachable and receive instruction. Can be difficult without a proper and healthy humility. It’s taken me a life-time, but I think I’m starting to get a little. Deo gratias!)

  2. ChgoCatholic says:

    Also note in the WaPo article how Pope Francis picks and chooses which sins to mention that make us “bad Catholics” — and what stands out is mentioning only the two sins that cry to heaven for vengeance that he prefers (slavery/marginalization and unjust wage). Those other two (murder and sodomy) don’t seem to mean much to him, it would seem.

  3. teechrlady says:

    Must need to up the fasting. Noticed on Monday, the USCCB version of this Gospel left off the fasting part. http://www.catholic.org/bible/daily_reading/?select_date=2017-02-20

  4. GypsyMom says:


    Every time in the last few years I’ve heard that last part of the Bible passage above, the “and fasting” is left off, which included this week at daily Mass. And, pray tell, who is it that really wants that part left off, hhmmm….

  5. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    Why don’t the disciples/Apostles successfully expel the demons from an individual suffering from a life conformed to disorder and mortal sin?

    Because the disciples/Apostles/bishops lacked supernatural Faith in the grace of God to help the man through a seemingly “impossible” situation. They lacked a disciplined spirit capable of prayer and fasting.

    An unbelieving and perverse generation.

    The unbelieving disciples/Apostles left the man in his sin/possession/disorder.
    Sound familiar to contemporary issues a bit?

  6. lmgilbert says:

    Penance (fasting and etc) is an aspect of Christian life that Catholics of our time have emphatically let slip, yet before the Council it was not so.

    My own unverifiable thought is that the Christians of the Middle East are suffering so horribly involuntarily because we Christians of the West not only will not do penance voluntarily for the most part, but also are very indulgent in everything we can indulge. If grace is going to come down to sweep us up into the Divine friendship and Heaven, then sin has to be re-dressed by unsin. As St. Thomas says somewhere, God is not interested in pain, but He is interested in justice. So even if we were unbalanced on the side of penance pre 1962 (which I do not grant) , it is an unbalance we very much need . . . to recover our balance, for we in the West are very much on the side of indulgence (unpenance). Under this view our politics, demonstrations, protests, petitions can do nothing to lift the burden of suffering from the people of the Middle East (and Africa, and Indonesia and wherever the Islamic Darkness makes life miserable), but a some voluntary suffering on our part may bring them some real relief.

    Beyond that, our giving up penance is *in effect* giving up the faith and we see this revealed in the mass apostasy of our young people. Taking up our cross daily ( of which voluntary penance is surely a part) and following the Lord simply is not part of the new evangelization or the recent catechesis. Yet, without the cross worked into our lives the faith cannot perdure. This is not merely theory or “theology” but the experience of every faithful Catholic. and for that matter the experience of the Church over the entire course of her existence.

  7. ajf1984 says:

    With regard to the “with prayer and fasting” portion of the verse being left out in the US Lectionary, I think this is a result of the use of the NAB translation. That translation leaves out the verse entirely, with a notation that “Some manuscripts add, ‘But this kind…'”, noting that this is a variant of the “better reading” of Mark 9:29. So it wasn’t removed from the lectionary for Mass per se, but the choice of translation for the lectionary de facto removed it. All in all, a very interesting omission!

    Also, with reference to the Gospel at Mass this past Monday, that was taken from the Marcan version, rather than the Matthean version that Father posted here.

  8. EMF says:

    Hello teechrlady and others –
    St. Jerome (on the Vatican website) has determined that fasting is not what our Lord really meant:
    29 Et dixit illis: “ Hoc genus in nullo potest exire nisi in oratione ”.

    To be fair, the Navarre NT also reads the same in Latin and English.

  9. Fr. Kelly says:

    EMF says:
    Hello teechrlady and others –
    St. Jerome (on the Vatican website) has determined that fasting is not what our Lord really meant:
    29 Et dixit illis: “ Hoc genus in nullo potest exire nisi in oratione ”.

    The Latin text on the Vatican Website is the Nova Vulgata which was critically edited beginning in the early to mid 60s at the instigation of Paul VI starting from the Bea psalter and work continued through the 1970s when it was issued at the beginning of St. John Paul II’s pontificate in 1979.

    The principles of translation that guided this work as well as the editorial decisions made have more in common with the prejudices of the biblical criticism of the time than they do with Jerome’s Vulgate.
    It is not surprising at all that they dropped the traditional reading of this passage in favor of the faddish reading of the day. This is consistent with their pattern generally. In many places these editors went out of the way to favor readings that were at variance with traditional Catholic practice. For example, they remove the feminine “ipsa” from Genesis 3:14 in favor of “ipsum” to undercut the traditional Catholic interpretation of the seed of the woman as Mary.
    They even went so far as to invent a neologism “Jahveh” to indicate the name of God, where Jerome generally used the word Dominus. (This was recognized as so disrespectful, that it was eliminated in the second edition of the nova vulgata)

    To make a long story short: (or at least no longer )

    It is inaccurate and misleading to attribute the nova vulgata text to St. Jerome.
    The nova vulgata is to the Clementine Vulgate (Jerome) about as The NAB is to the Douay- Rheims (or as Rap lyrics are to Shakespeare)

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