“Very harmful effects can follow accepting the philosophy which denies personal guilt or sin and thereby makes everyone nice. By denying sin, the nice people make a cure impossible. Sin is most serious, and the tragedy is deepened by the denial that we are sinners…The really unforgiveable sin is the denial of sin, because, by its nature, there is now nothing to be forgiven. By refusing to admit to personal guilt, the nice people are made into scandalmongers, gossips, talebearers, and super-critics, for they must project their real if unrecognized guilt to others. This, again, gives them a new illusion of goodness: the increase of faultfinding is in direct ratio and proportion to the denial of sin.” ― Fulton J. Sheen: (Venerable Fulton John Sheen (1895 – 1979: was an American bishop of the Catholic Church known for his preaching and especially his work on television and radio)
Gospel Text: (MT 8:28-34)
When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes,
two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.
They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.
They cried out, "What have you to do with us, Son of God?
Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?"
Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.
The demons pleaded with him,
"If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine."
And he said to them, "Go then!"
They came out and entered the swine,
and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea
where they drowned.
The swineherds ran away,
and when they came to the town they reported everything,
including what had happened to the demoniacs.
Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus,
and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.
One striking point in this narrative is the reaction of people to the swineherds’ report: “they begged him to leave their district.” Why do the people react this way? One might expect the people to express gratitude to Jesus, and invite Him to stay as their protector.
Perhaps the people were in shock, never before imagining that demons might dwell among them. Perhaps the reaction of the people reflects what today is described by the acronym “NIMBY”: “Not In My Back Yard”. When terrible violence erupts in a metropolis, many people on hearing the news shake their heads, say a prayer for those affected, and then turn the channel to SportsCenter.
But if such violence erupts in their own hamlet, they express disbelief at how such violence could happen “here”. Sadly, sin, violence and death are here, there and everywhere. In the midst of such things, Christ has no place.