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FEB 1. ORDINARY TIME. (B) WK. 4 MON. MK. 5. 1-20

Jesus and his disciples reached the country of the Gerasenes on the other side of the lake, and no sooner had Jesus left the boat than a man with an unclean spirit came out from the tombs towards him. The man lived in the tombs and no one could secure him any more, even with a chain; because he had often been secured with fetters and chains but had snapped the chains and broken the fetters, and no one had the strength to control him. All night and all day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he would howl and gash himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and fell at his feet and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? Swear by God you will not torture me!’ – for Jesus had been saying to him, ‘Come out of the man, unclean spirit.’ ‘What is your name?’ Jesus asked. ‘My name is legion,’ he answered ‘for there are many of us.’ And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the district.

Now there was there on the mountainside a great herd of pigs feeding, and the unclean spirits begged him, ‘Send us to the pigs, let us go into them.’ So he gave them leave. With that, the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs, and the herd of about two thousand pigs charged down the cliff into the lake, and there they were drowned. The swineherds ran off and told their story in the town and in the country round about; and the people came to see what had really happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his full senses – the very man who had had the legion in him before – and they were afraid. And those who had witnessed it reported what had happened to the demoniac and what had become of the pigs. Then they began to implore Jesus to leave the neighbourhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed begged to be allowed to stay with him. Jesus would not let him but said to him, ‘Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in his mercy has done for you.’ So the man went off and proceeded to spread throughout the Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him. And everyone was amazed.


Of all the miracle “types” Jesus performed during the three years of his public life, (I wonder how many more were performed during his hidden life?) the type that is most relevant to most of us is when he casts out evil spirits, as we all know, from our daily life, these certainly dwell within us today.


We also know that, alone, we do not have the ability or the strength to “cast them out!” Note in this reading how: no sooner had Jesus left the boat than a man with an unclean spirit came out from the tombs towards him”, and also “catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and fell at his feet!”


This is characteristic of souls once they have been given the gift, and the grace, of insight into their human condition! We turn to God and plead for his help to deal with the evil spirits that dwell within us, and it is only after we do this with both Faith and Humility, that God will come to us, and assist us to “cast them out!”


Sadly, this process, of recognising the evil spirits that dwell within us, can take many years, and even then, we often think we can cast them out via our own efforts, and waste many more years before we approach Jesus, on our knees, and with a humble heart!


When we finally do this, Christ’s response will be prompt! And note his directions to the man: ‘Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in his mercy has done for you’.

Lk 2:22-40.FEBRUARY 2.

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