Wednesday, July 1, 2015

“If we throw God out, He obeys and goes away. He pays, but we lose.”

“I won't tell you that the world matters nothing, or the world's voice, or the voice of society. They matter a good deal. They matter far too much. But there are moments when one has to choose between living one's own life, fully, entirely, completely—or dragging out some false, shallow, degrading existence that the world in its hypocrisy demands. You have that moment now. Choose!”― Oscar Wilde: (1854 – 1900: Irish author, playwright and poet)

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.

What are we supposed to learn from this? How are we supposed to change and grow in the light of such a passage? Let's look at the context. In Matthew's gospel yesterday from Mass Jesus calmed a storm, to which the response of the disciples was “What kind of a man is this? Even the winds and the sea obey Him.” It would seem that today's gospel is simply one part of Matthew's answer to the disciples' question, “What sort of a man is this?” That response is that Jesus is a powerful man with control over the elements, over demons, over sin, and over people's physical ailments; taken in the larger context of Matthew's whole gospel, it is part of the larger answer, that Christ is both man and God, the Father's true Son.

For us the question is the same, and Jesus is asking for our response: “Who do you say that I am?” --- and “What actual, lived difference does that make in your life?”

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