Love and persistent faith

The WORD in Other Words by Fr John Cruz SVD (Philippines)

Thursday 5th Week in Ordinary Time

A Muslim Subano mother (an indigenous tribe in Mindanao) one day rushed to   our parish convent in Zamboanga Sibugay with her daughter. She explained that her child   was possessed by a spirit, and asked me to perform an exorcism. The teenager was   fidgety, the eves had a confused look, and only spoke and understood Cebuano (not   their native language). 

Unsure on what to do and lacking experience in such situations,  I referred this to older fellow priest. He, being the parish priest, advised the woman to go to   their Imam (their priest equivalent) to pray over the teenage girl. The mother insisted   we do it, since what possessed the girl was supposedly Christian (she said the Imam   would be powerless over a “Bisaya spirit). 

Dumbfounded (and frankly, quite amused) I prayed over the child and sprinkled holy water, knowing she would not go away unless I did something. The mother was appeased and her daughter seemed calmer.   They left shortly afterwards. I prayed that the girl felt better and would no longer be bothered by “spirits.”

Today‘s Gospel presents a similar situation. A woman, a Syrophoenician by birth, came to Jesus, a Jew, for the healing of her daughter. This Greek woman and the   Muslim mother implored the aid of our God for the wellbeing of their children, and were cured.   

Both cases present the reality of a mother‘s love going the extra mile, especially   in desperate situations. Sacrificing one‘s self for the sake of others is beyond romantic   love that we celebrate on Valentine‘s Day!)  

Persistence and courage in begging Jesus for healing is what freed their daughters from sickness. As Christians, can our belief in God‘s healing power compare to these women of other faith?


  1. We may celebrate romantic love on Valentine´s day. Valentine did not; he blessed true love in marriages that were not arranged by parents. So he fits in here perfectly, where true faith and love overrule conventional norms.
    Not only a saint for Teenagers, also for old ones like me…
    Thanks for this reflection!

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