JUNE 30. Ord Time. B. Wk 13. Wed. Mt. 8. 28-34
When Jesus reached the country of the Gadarenes on the other side of the lake, two demoniacs came towards him out of the tombs – creatures so fierce that no one could pass that way. They stood there shouting, ‘What do you want with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torture us before the time?’ Now some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding, and the devils pleaded with Jesus, ‘If you cast us out, send us into the herd of pigs.’ And he said to them, ‘Go then’, and they came out and made for the pigs; and at that the whole herd charged down the cliff into the lake and perished in the water. The swineherds ran off and made for the town, where they told the whole story, including what had happened to the demoniacs. At this the whole town set out to meet Jesus; and as soon as they saw him they implored him to leave the neighbourhood.
We must always remember, when reading scripture, that it has been provided to us by God in order to teach, to instruct, and to enlighten.
The obvious message in this reading is to point out that Christ is divine and, as a result, has power over evil spirits, which were represented by “two demoniacs” who came forward “out of the tombs!”
Today, very little attention is paid to good spirits and evil spirits, to the point where many would claim they do not exist, but that is clearly not the case, with the work of both being clearly visible in the world we live in.
Not only do we not give much attention to good and evil, but even more so there is a lack of attention given to the reality of the “spiritual world”, and this despite the fact we know we are spiritual beings; - that the spirit will live on; - while our physical bodies will return to the earth.
Given this truth, and the fact God is a spiritual being, it is somewhat ironic we give so much attention to the physical world, and our physical concerns, and so little to the spiritual world?
To our physical abilities and circumstances; - rather than our spiritual abilities and the state of our relationship with God and the state of our souls. To the state of our physical circumstances rather than to the state of our spiritual life; - to the point where many give no attention at all to their spiritual life, or, to put it another way; - to their relationship with God!
I think this is what Christ is trying to teach us in this Gospel passage, with the demoniacs being “spirits” who have considerable influence and power over human behaviour, and how we need to be aware of their presence and influence in our lives.
Their primary characteristic is that they are opposed to God and, as a result, they promote and encourage the practice of evil; - and this is the lesson of today’s Gospel.
When it is put in these terms, we can see what an important lesson it is, as we are all very aware, in our own lives of the reality of good and evil; - and how we are “attracted” in many situations to “doing evil” or, to put it another way; - to offending God, by committing sin!
What Christ is showing us here is how he has power over evil; - and how his disciples can call on this power in their struggles with evil. God is a spiritual being, and we are spiritual beings; with the ability to enter into a relationship with each other; - a relationship sustained via Prayer!
Gospel Acclamation Jm1:18
The Father gave us birth by the message of his truth,
that we might be as the first fruits of his creation.