Monday in the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time
In today’s Gospel, the Gerasenes are terrified when they catch sight of the man who had been possessed and had lived among the tombs. Once eye witnesses explain to them that the demons which had possessed the man had been driven out by Jesus into a swine herd, the Gerasenes then beg Jesus to leave their country. At first, their reactions seem quite reasonable. To be terrified of someone whom they had known before as a dangerous man, and then to want to be rid of Jesus who would approach such a man and cause the loss of a whole herd of livestock. Such behavior leading to such economic catastrophy is not what you want in your country.
And yet, when the truth of the heart sinks in, one begins to see their actions as less and less sensible. When the Gerasenes approach Jesus and the man he has exercised, they do not see the raving demoniac whom they had seen before, tearing his clothes and breaking even chains. No, instead they see the man fully clothed and in his right mind. Such a change should provoke joy, gratitude, and amazement, rather than terror. Next, they turn to Jesus and begin begging him to leave. Yet, if Jesus can do such good for one man, what could he do for the country of the Gerasenes? The value of a whole herd of pigs does not compare to the value of one human person. Yet, in their unreasonableness, the Gerasenes focus rather on what little they have lost instead of what great gain they have in their brother restored to them.
As we continue to ask the Lord for the grace to honor Him with all our mind and to love everyone in truth of heart, let us see that this applies to those whom we have given up on, as the Gerasenes had given up on the demoniac. In order to honor the Lord with our whole mind, let us ask for the grace to believe in His great power to work changes in those whom we have given up on. Let us beg for hearts that can choose the reasonableness of reconciliation with a lost brother over the keeping of any material good we might have to sacrifice for such reconciliation made possible by Christ our Lord.
January 30th, 2017