Faith Daily | 29 June 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p 556
who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son
to suffer death upon a cross,
and by his glorious resurrection
delivered us from the power of the enemy:
grant us so to die daily to sin
that we may evermore live with him
in the joy of his resurrection;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 8: 28-34
28When 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. 29Suddenly they shouted, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” 30Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. 31The demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” 32And 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. 33The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. 34Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Virginia Hasker
This dramatic story of the miracle of the healing of two men possessed is also told in both the gospels of Mark: 5 and Luke 8:. The identity of the place in which these men were found is slightly different but the main elements of the story are the same.
Demonic possession is referred to a few times in the narrative of Jesus life and ministry. This story is particularly disturbing because the people concerned lived in the tombs, they were violent outcasts from the community and the demons went into a herd of pigs who were destroyed when they all drowned in a lake.
William Barclay’s commentary – ‘We must try to visualize what happened. The men were shouting and shrieking ( Mark 5:7; Luke 8:28). We must remember that they were completely convinced that they were occupied by demons. Now it was normal and orthodox belief, shared by everyone, that when the Messiah and the time of judgment came, the demons would be destroyed. That is what the men meant when they asked Jesus why he had come to torture them before the proper time. They were so convinced that they were possessed by demons that nothing could have rid them of that conviction other than visible demonstration that the demons had gone out of them’.
The men making a lot of noise could very well have scared the pigs so that they ran into the lake, but that demonstration of pigs drowning would have convinced the men that the demons had left them.
The nature of Jesus is on show here. He was not afraid to walk into the area where these violent men lived. He was not afraid to be confronted by them and his love for them was displayed in his focus of attention on them and their sad and terrible condition. He loved them so much that he wanted to heal them, and so the miracle of the healing took place and is documented.
Mental health is still on display in certain people in our communities. It is a tragedy because it can distort the gifts and nature that God created the person to have. It alienates people from their communities, families and can leave them isolated and rejected. I have a sister who has suffered from mental health for many years now and I have witnessed the destruction of her beautiful nature and her ability to engage in a happy and fruitful life.
FINAL PRAYER Michael Leunig
God bless the lost, the confused, the unsure, the bewildered, the puzzled, the mystified, the baffled, and the perplexed. Amen.