The Healing of a Boy with a Demon
Nowadays, in spite of advance technology where almost all sickness is given a cure many sick people and their families still do not rely only on doctors and medicines. Many of them accompany their medical healing process with many prayers asking God for His healing power. Even doctors advice to do so.
Just like this true story told by Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD in his homily (Bible Diary May 20, 2002), that a lawyer-friend of him related that the doctors of his father warned him about the weak heart of his father. “When he reaches fifty years old,” the doctor said, “you had better prepare for his early demise.”
On hearing the doctors’ assessment, this lawyer said that his father and mother doubled their prayers. He continued to say that aside from their devotion to the Holy Trinity and the Holy Family, his parents attended an extra Mass and the Perpetual Help novena on Wednesdays. “I know this because I accompanied them,” he added. “Tatay (father) lived to the ripe age of 82 in 1986. He outlived all his doctors who predicted his early demise, except the last who was still young,” he told Fr. San Luis.
The gospel today relates a case of Jesus’ miraculous casting out of a devil possession by which a son is possessed by a mute spirit. Actually, at the beginning of the gospel we are told that this possessed boy was brought by the father to his disciples for healing but they failed to heal his son until the Lord succeeded in doing it. Nowadays we seldom hear and see devil possessions. It is because some possessions can be explained medically as sicknesses, like epilepsy. While this fact is true, possessions today cannot be dismissed immediately. There are still devil possessions and it is a reality. That is why towards the end of the gospel His disciples asked Him in private, “Why could we not drive it out?” He answered to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
Through these words, Jesus is surely establishing a direct connection between prayer and the successful casting out of demons especially that the devil’s power and influence are more subtle today. These evil influences can be detected through temptations or incitement to do evil acts like: tortures and killing of people, rape and kidnapping with murder, trafficking in drugs, pornography and so on and so forth which disregard God’s laws.
Doing always what is moral and legal is an effective way to fight and resist devil’s temptations and his incitements to do evil acts. But prayer is also effective as Jesus says so. Therefore we can say that prayer is so important in our lives because we all have inner ‘demons’ to exorcise, like: unreasonable fears, formless anxieties, uncontrollable depressions and others. Many spiritual writers have emphasized the need of prayer like William Clemmons in his book Discovering the Depths. He said: “Rest is necessary for a serious relationship with the Father. If one’s schedule of activities is so hectic and hurried that all of life is lived in the tension of going from one activity to another or having to so concentrate on work that it consumes one’s life, then serious prayer life is threatened or very nearly impossible. In that case, a slowing down of life is necessary and that may be such a wrenching of lifestyles that it is nearly impossible for that person to ‘let go.’ But, that letting go has to be the starting place for any life of prayer which is seriously begun,” (p. 54).
Jesus says: “This kind can only come out through prayer.”