The Gospel passage for today is an interesting passage to talk about demons, whether you actualize them or spiritualize them or humanize them. However, for this reflection I do not wish to focus on actual demons nor to spiritualize them by naming the words that seem to possess us in this present age, like greed, lust and despair. And I have no intention of talking about the humanization of those demons in money, consumerism, and the instant communications and internet that have so ill possessed our children and many of us adults. |
This is also an interesting passage to talk about healing inherent in faith. We might consider the infinite kindness of God who did not cast the demons into the pit, but let them possess the pigs instead. We might consider how God reached out to a man who was not even a Jew in a region of non-Jews, and how he longs to reach out toward us in our day, and heal us—and cast out all of our demons that torture us and make our lives miserable. Some commentators claim the demoniac symbolizes the demonized members of society who have been stripped of their identity and clothing and who are living in the tombs. If this is the case then it must be equally true that Jesus wants to encounter those very people and bring them back to healing and community. No, I am not going to talk about that.
There is something else of note, here, and it comes near the end of the passage. It has to do with fear. The people of that region saw Jesus do an awesome and impossible thing, and they became so afraid they asked him to leave. Think about it. The message here has nothing to do with acknowledging Jesus or believing in him, or recognizing that he is the Immanuel—God with us—or even accepting him as Lord and Saviour. It has to do with following him. How many of us claim Christ as Lord and Saviour yet remain afraid to truly follow him? How many wish he would just depart from them?
The passage indicates that Jesus will go to the shadow wildernesses created by our fears and projections and liberate us from abysmal exclusion. Having done this He will command us to continue this work in His name.
Rev’d. Fr. Colin Humes