10th Sunday after Pentecost
When the disciples asked Jesus why they were unable to heal the epileptic boy, He replied, "Because of your little faith. For truly I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there/ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you."
A Sunday school student said once, "The Bible says we can move mountains with faith. Well, how come we don’t move mountains with faith? How come we use bulldozers?"
The problem here is the meaning of the word "mountain." It is obvious that its meaning is symbolic. It stands for all the troubles and difficulties that block our path like a veritable mountain and make life impossible for us. Real mountains do not stand in our way any more. We have invented giant earthmoving machines to flatten them. Recently we read of the completion of a tunnel through one of the highest mountains in the Alps. Earthly mountains no longer stand in the way of man. Neither should other kinds of mountains. Jesus tells us that real, honest, sincere faith in Him generates power great enough to move mountains.
Man Is Bigger than any Mountain.
Man was created by God to be bigger than any mountain, even though he stands only six feet tall. He has a head on his shoulders with a brain, and this is what places him above all other creatures. If he cannot climb the mountain or tunnel through it or walk around it, he builds a plane and flies over it at thirty thousand feet. Today, no physical mountain can stand in man’s way.
Neither should any other kind of mountain. This is what the Lord Jesus is telling us in today’s Gospel. There is no mountain of difficulties that a man who believes and prays cannot surmount.
St. Paul, for example, had a mountain in his life. He tells us about it in his second letter to the Corinthians: "And lest I should be exalted above measure … there was given me a thorn in the flesh … For this thing I besought the Lord three times, that it might depart from me." The Lord gave Paul power to overcome this mountain. He was not defeated by it. The "thorn in the flesh," obviously some kind of physical illness, did not put Paul in bed as an invalid, but drove him to greater dependence on Christ and greater power.
Jesus faced such a mountain in his life. In the 26th chapter of Matthew we read of the experience He had in Gethsemane. "Then said Jesus to the disciples, ‘My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here and watch with me.’ And going a little farther he fell on His face and prayed, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me… . ‘ ‘ How painful was this mountain of suffering that Jesus faced! Yet He was not defeated by it. He overcame it. He changed the cross into a marvelous resurrection experience for Himself as well as for those who believe in Him.
There are others. Helen Keller was blind and deaf, but she was not defeated by her great mountain. She once wrote, "I thank God for my handicaps, for through them I have found myself, my work, and my God."
A famous auto racer who had won the Indianapolis 500 and many other races turned to the old tranquilizer, alcohol, to escape from the tensions of his profession. He became an alcoholic. His career was on the verge of being ruined. But he turned to Christ for help, and through Christ’s power he was able to move the great mountain of alcoholism from his life. Later, when a reporter asked him if winning the Indianapolis 500 was the greatest victory of his life, he said it wasn’t. The thing that meant more to him than winning the 500 was to know that through the power of Christ he had conquered himself.
There is no mountain in life that is bigger than Christ. He is bigger than any temptation; bigger than any sin, any failure; bigger than any difficulty, any problem. When we place our life in His hands, He gives us the power to become bigger than we ever dreamed we could be, bigger than our illness, bigger than our weakness, bigger than our hatred, bigger than our prejudices, bigger than our defeats.
"Jesus answered and said unto them, "If you have faith … you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible to you."
Lord, give us this faith that moves mountains. You alone know the difficulties, the pains, the problems that loom before each one of us as impenetrable mountains. Lord, we believe, help our unbelief, strengthen our faith. Amen.
By Fr. Anthony M. Coniaris
"Gems from the Sunday and Feasts Gospels"