Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture for June 30: Lectionary # 379. Amos 5:14-15,21-24. Psalm 50:7,
8-9.10-11, 12-13,16-17. Matthew 8:28-34:
Can you imagine a whole village begging Jesus to leave their land and to
leave them alone? Do we do that sometimes when we are frustrated or
confused? The journey of life is long in many respects especially in the
moral and spiritual pathways to life eternal. Sometimes we stray and leave
the road that Jesus took and pointed out to us. We beg Jesus to leave us
alone like the villagers from the Gadarene territory. They "begged him
leave their neighborhood."
Why this happened is probably in the fact they were content with their own
status quo and even put up with two men who were totally wild and out of
their mind; they were possessed as one today is possessed by the demons of
drugs, alcohol, and sexual addiction. The villagers were not ready for
Jesus, but he like the "hound of heaven" pursues them and us and does what
is necessary to release the men of their afflictions by the devil. Their
pigs (considered an unlawful unclean animal by their Jewish neighbors) are
to rush to the lake and perish because of the demons who enter them.
All of us have trouble leaving our pigs to perish-- our sins, bad
behaviors, rash judgments, impatience. Some of these belong to our comfort
zones and we are not willing to let Jesus drive them out so that they can
drown in God's sea of mercy and kindness and love. They are like an old
pair of shoes that are really worthless but we feel we are comfortable in
them though they smell and show our toes.
Surely we find this story very strange but it does contain a lesson within
it. It is a powerful exorcism that Jesus alone can perform for us and for
the villagers who do not want this to happen. St. Mark even goes in more
detail about this event. He has only one man in his narrative but his
talent for detail is alive and flourishing in his story of the possessed
man. Nothing could bind this man; no one except Jesus could not only
release him, he heals him, purges him, and sets him free. He even wants to
follow Jesus, but Jesus sends him back to teach the villagers a lesson and
Exorcisms whether authenticated or fabricated are not to be played with.
We do better in avoiding the world of exorcisms and enter into the real
world of listening to the Master. We are to deny ourselves and our pigly
attachments to sin and pleasures. Only Jesus cast out this kind and deep
down we know it. Amen.
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