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. (Matthew 8:28-34)
What? The evil in my life? I know no evil. I shook my head sadly when I had that conversation. It came from a good Christian. A person who attended Church, studied scripture, took advantage of the sacraments, by all outward signs, led a good life. There was simply disbelief on his part that he contributed to evil.
The sad truth is that each of us does. Evil exists around us because we allow it to exist. When we see evil and do not confront it. When we see evil and offer a prayer while we go on our way leaving it to someone else to do battle with it. Each of these times and more, we give it freedom to dwell around us and in doing so to dwell in us.
The danger is that we give freedom for the Evil One to have an influence in our life. As it stays with us it also slowly but surely controls our thoughts and actions.
But all is not lost if we know and have faith in Jesus and if we try to live His teachings in every moment of our life, the Evil One will run away from us, evil or anything that is evil will have no place anymore in our value system and in our life.
Jesus took pity on these men who were overtaken by a legion of evil spirits. The destructive force of these demons is evident for all who can see as they flee and destroy a herd of swine. After Jesus freed the demoniacs the whole city came out to meet him. No one had demonstrated such power and authority against the forces of Satan as Jesus did.
Jesus is ready and willing to free us from anything that binds us and that keeps us from the love of God. The risen Lord’s life-giving power at work in our lives is stronger than the forces in our world which dehumanize and damage. That is why we need always to be people of hope. The Lord at work among us and through us can do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, in the words of Saint Paul. We need to open ourselves to the Lord’s presence so that he can work through us. In contrast to the townspeople in the gospel reading who asked the Lord to leave the neighborhood, we invite the Lord to use us as his instruments in his healing and life-giving work.
Prayer of The Day
“Jesus, you have the power to make all things new, including the way I think and act. Come and shine your light on my life to show me where I am missing the freedom you offer me.”
God’s word reminds us that no destructive force can keep anyone from the peace and safety which God offers to those who seek his help. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand; but it will not come near you. . . Because you have made the Lord your refuge, the Most High your habitation (Psalm 91:7,9).