A sermon from Fr. Thomas Williams
St. John the Theologian Mission, Rapid City, South Dakota
Gospel Matthew 17:14-23 (10th Sunday after Pentecost)
This kind is cast out only by prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting.
When I was ten or eleven growing up in New York City I was one of the lucky kids whose family had a television. New York had seven channels in the 50s. Every Sunday, for some reason, when I came home from the nine o'clock mass, I would sit in front of the twelve-inch screen, eat breakfast and watch Channel 11, waiting for the Yankees game that would come on promptly at 12:30.
But as I was waiting I would always watch the Oral Roberts program on Channel 11, with lots of preaching and shouting. What fascinated me the most were the healings. "Heal!!! Be thou healed in the name of Jesus," he would shout, and almost always the person who was healed would fall back as he pushed them back on their head. Just as they were about to hit the floor, his assistants would catch them, pulling them up, and off the person would go, somewhat wobbly, but waving their hands and shouting praises to God ... and everyone in TV land. I was fascinated by this. Now I am not sure if it was the shouting (Catholic priests didn't shout during the mass or even in their sermons); or if I was waiting to see if anyone would ever hit the floor. I didn't believe in my heart that anyone was really being healed. It all seemed too loud, and besides who would ever go on television to be healed?
This kind is cast out by prayer and fasting. Prayer and fasting.