Gospel text (Mk 9,14-29):
When Jesus came to the place where they had left the disciples, they saw many people around and some teachers of the Law arguing with them. When the people saw Jesus, they were astonished and ran to greet him. He asked, «What are you arguing about with them?». A man answered him from the crowd, «Master, I brought my son to you for he has a dumb spirit. Whenever the spirit seizes him, it throws him down and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth and becomes stiff all over. I asked your disciples to drive the spirit out, but they could not».
Jesus replied, «You faithless people. How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to me». And they brought the boy to him. As soon as the spirit saw Jesus, it shook and convulsed the boy who fell on the ground and began rolling about, foaming at the mouth. Then Jesus asked the father, «How long has this been happening to him?». He replied, «From childhood. And it has often thrown him into the fire and into the water to destroy him. If you can do anything, have pity on us and help us». Jesus said to him, «Why do you say: ‘If you can?’ All things are possible for one who believes». Immediately the father of the boy cried out, «I do believe, but help the little faith I have».
Jesus saw that the crowd was increasing rapidly, so he ordered the evil spirit, «Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you: Leave the boy and never enter him again». The evil spirit shook and convulsed the boy and with a terrible shriek came out. The boy lay like a corpse and people said, «He is dead». But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him and the boy stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, «Why couldn't we drive out the spirit?». And he answered, «Only prayer can drive out this kind, nothing else».
Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
Emerging faith seeks maturity,
by Augustine of Hippo, 354-430 A.D.
"In saying, 'When the Son of Man shall come, shall he find faith upon the earth?' our Lord spoke of that faith which is fully matured, which is so seldom found on earth. The church's faith is full, for who would come here if there were no fullness of faith? And whose faith when fully matured would not move mountains (Matthew 17:20; 21:22)? Look at the apostles themselves, who would not have left all they had, trodden under foot this world's hope, and followed the Lord, if they had not had proportionally great faith. And yet if they had already experienced a completely matured faith, they would have not said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith' (Luke 17:5). Rather we find here an emerging faith, which is not yet full faith, in that father who when he had presented to the Lord his son to be cured of an evil spirit and was asked whether he believed, answered, 'Lord, I believe, help me in my unbelief' (Mark 9:24). 'Lord,' says he, 'I believe.' 'I believe': therefore there was faith; but 'help me in my unbelief': therefore there was not full faith (Hebrews 10:22)." (excerpt from SERMONS ON NEW TESTAMENT LESSONS 65)