(A couple’s perspective)
There is a lot that could be discussed in this gospel passage! But I feel that the most important angle comes at the end when Jesus advocates for the formerly possessed man to reunite with his family. Isn’t it so difficult to come back to our families after a period of affliction, especially if it brought us into a place where we felt judged?
Years ago, I had a great Jesuit spiritual director named Ken who helped me experience this in my own life when I felt distanced from “The Church” at large. Ken reminded me, “Jesus heals us, but he also knows how much we need to be a part of the community. It’s why He always sends the ‘new’ person back to the leaders of the Church . . . to feel a part of the family again.” I have never forgotten this encouragement and have been particularly heartened that our newly elected Pope Francis appears to have “welcome” and “connection” at the fore of his letters and statements.
A number of years ago I connected with a second cousin via an online family tree website. She was living across the Detroit River in Windsor, Ontario, with her partner. We may have met when I was a child (her father was my grandfather’s brother) but I could not recall. We agreed to get together for dinner to discuss the research she had being doing on our family tree. During our meal she discussed how she was marginalized by her family because she is a lesbian. This saddened me but I was grateful to her for sharing her struggles with me.
Sometimes our family can hurt us the most. My cousin’s parents had both passed away, so there was no chance of reconciliation with them in this life. But there is a chance that my cousin can continue to reconnect with other family members, especially those in my generation and younger, so that the rupture suffered in her familial relationships can slowly be healed.
Do you seek reunification with some member of your family? Can Jesus facilitate that for you?
—Carrie and David Nantais live in the city of Detroit with their two sons, Liam (almost 4 years) and Theo (5 ½ months). They are both at the University of Detroit Mercy—David as Director of University Ministry and Carrie as a PhD student in Clinical Psychology. They have been married for 5 ½ years. http://www.udmercy.edu/ministry/index.htm