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.
It is difficult to accept the disturbance. Abraham is confronted with the jealousy of his wife and it seems to us that God has proved her right. Even in today's gospel, people did not want to welcome the Lord and they were disturbed by the Lord's act. To our surprise, the Lord has accepted their request.
I am not comparing these events. However, I would like to share with you my personal feeling. Like Abraham, in our daily lives, if we have the courage to consult and obey God, we will feel not only the fulfillment of God's will in us, but also how God protects Ishmael, the son of Hagar. God does not abandon anyone. Even in the weakness of our brothers and sisters that Lord is capable of bring good out of it.
To do this, we must let God work in us, in His way and in His time. If we put our trust in the Lord and be faithful to what God commands us, God will not let demons dominate us, for we are his children. We must therefore discern and act with dignity, as children of God, full of love and mercy. Since God is free, he will leave this region, at their own request. Let us pray that, in our freedom, we do not drive the Lord away from us. Let us remain connected to God, as the branches are connected to the Vine.
Action of the day: Listen to your interior impulsions.
«They begged him to leave their district»
Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench
(Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, we are given to contemplate a sad contrast. “Contrast” because we admire the power and divine majesty of Jesus Christ, to whom the demons submit voluntarily (a certain sign of the arrival of the Kingdom of heaven). But, at the same time, we deplore the narrowness and stinginess which the human heart is capable of, when refusing the bearer of Good News: “The whole town came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district” (Mt 8:34). And “sad” because “The true light, which enlightens everyone (...) came to what was his own, but his own people did not accept him” (Jn 1:9-11).
More contrast and more confusion when we pay attention to the fact that man is free and this freedom has the “power to halt” God's infinite power. In other words: the infinite divine power can go as far as our “powerful” freedom allows. And this is so because God loves us mainly with a Father's love. As a Father, we should not be surprised that He is so respectful of our freedom: He does not impose his love upon us; He just proposes it to us.
God, with infinite wisdom and goodness, providentially rules the Universe while respecting our freedom; even when this freedom turns its back on Him and does not want to accept his will. Contrary to what it may seem, He does not let the world out of his hands: God always brings everything to a good conclusion, despite all hindrances we can raise against him. In fact, these hindrances are, first of all, turning against us.
However, we can affirm: «before human freedom God has wanted to become “powerless”. And it can also be said that God pays for the great gift [our freedom] given to a being created in his image and likeness [man]» (Saint John Paul II). God pays! If we throw Him out, He obeys and goes away. He pays, but we lose. On the other hand, we come out winning when we respond like the Virgin Mary: “I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).