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What do you have to do with us?

 

Gospel: Mt 8:28-34

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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.

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This healing story confronts us with the idea of demonic possession. Ancient peoples believed in demons and evil spirits. They also accepted the idea that the many evils that afflict people (sickness, blindness, deafness, mental illness, etc.) were the result of possession by any number of evil spirits. The origin of demons was debated. Some held that they were present at the beginning of the world; others said they were the spirits of wicked, malignant people who had died; still others believed they were “fallen angels.”

However, this Gospel is not primarily about the demons themselves. It is focused on the person of Jesus. Who is he? Where does his power come from? Who is this person who “commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him” (Mk 1:27)? “What sort of man is this, whom even the winds and the sea obey?” (Mt 8:27).

This Gospel narrative seeks to draw our attention to Jesus and God’s divine power at work in him. Primarily, it invites us to make a “faith response” to Jesus himself.

How deep is my faith? Do I believe in Jesus – even without any spectacular signs?

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2020,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.

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