Monday, February 4, 2019

“Humanity has always been dexterous at confusing evil with good. That was Adam and Eve’s problem, and it is our problem today. “

Man without God is a contradiction, a paradox, a monstrosity. He sees evil as good and good as evil. That is why some people love evil and hate that which is good—they are still in their sins. For them, life’s values are confused. Paul found the cure for his violent, destructive disposition, not at the feet of Gamaliel or in the culture of Greece, but on the Damascus Road when he met Jesus Christ. - William Franklin Graham Jr. (1918 –2018: was an American evangelist)

Gospel Text: (MK 5:1-20)
Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat,
at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs,
and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains,
but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed,
and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides
he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance,
he ran up and prostrated himself before him,
crying out in a loud voice,
"What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I adjure you by God, do not torment me!"
(He had been saying to him, "Unclean spirit, come out of the man!")
He asked him, "What is your name?"

He  replied, "Legion is my name.  There are many of us."
And he pleaded earnestly with him
not to drive them away from that territory.

Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside.
And they pleaded with him,
"Send us into the swine.  Let us enter them."
And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine.
The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea,
where they were drowned.
The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town
and throughout the countryside.
And people came out to see what had happened.
As they approached Jesus,
they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,
sitting there clothed and in his right mind.
And they were seized with fear.
Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened
to the possessed man and to the swine.
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
As he was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead,
"Go home to your family and announce to them
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you."
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.

I would like to highlight a few points:
Which are the present day “Legions” that take over our lives and leave us not in control and “un-free” to love? Is it the desire to pursue of wealth and power at any cost? Is it consumerism, addiction, anger, impatience, … Whatever it might be, let’s present ourselves honestly in front of Jesus and ask him to “clean” us, to free us for love. This story shows us that Jesus’ salvation is available to all. If we have the courage to stand in front of Jesus just the way we are, with our shortcomings and weaknesses as well as with our talents and hopes, we will be liberated to live in the peace and joy that friendship with Jesus brings. 

Once healed by Jesus, the man in the story was missioned by him to go and tell his people how he had been freed. Let us be attentive to our mission of sharing with our lives, the good news of Jesus’ healing presence in our mist.

Let us also be aware that we might be confronted by rejection. The people in the town, “… were seized with fear,” and they begged Jesus to leave, sadly they probably did not want that man to stay either.

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