Mt 8: 28-34
When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. The demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go!” So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water.
The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Paying the Price
I find the point of today’s gospel hard to understand, so I put myself into the story as one of the town folk who beg Jesus to leave. I beg this of Jesus because he has just caused an important part of our local economy, the swineherd, to destroy itself. While I see it is good to get rid of the demoniacs, I am just not quite willing to pay such a high price.
Now I turn to my own life and consider in what ways the exact same thing is happening. In what ways do I tolerate some evil or lessening of myself or others because I simply don’t want to pay the price of following Jesus with my entire self, not holding back anything?
What is it that holds me back? In the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius talks about the evil spirits which hold us back. He advises us that the devil wants us to hide them and keep them from the light of day. It is in this way that they continue to hold power over us. Whereas, when we name such evils in confession or in spiritual direction or with a trusted friend, their hold over us dissipates and disappears.
—David McNulty works for the Midwest Jesuits. Dave and his wife Judy are grandparents of six.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will. All I have and call my own, you give to me. It is my deepest desire to return all to you, O Lord, in your service, according to your will. Please give me only your love and your grace in their greatest abundance; this is enough for me.
—St. Ignatius Loyola, click here for a downloadable prayer card