Faith Daily | 30 June 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - PENTECOST APBA p552
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
28 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. 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 lake 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 neighbourhood.
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Alison Dorman
There are some surprising aspects to this story. The two demoniacs ’came out of the tomb’ to meet Jesus. They recognised something in Jesus that they had not encountered, but didn’t understand. Others had avoided these people in fear, but Jesus, as usual, without fear, had compassion on them, although he was in foreign territory. They opened themselves to what Jesus might offer them.
So, why when he healed them did everyone respond the way they did? The swineherds ran off and the townspeople asked him to leave the district.
Were they afraid and overwhelmed by his divine power?
Was it a fear or lack of understanding of the power of evil?
Did they not trust the ability of Jesus to heal and so continue to fear the people whose lives had been dominated by ‘evil spirits’, maybe what we might understand as mental illness, fear or anxiety?
This causes me to reflect on my own responses and reactions in these situations.
How can I be more compassionate towards those who I don’t understand or who cause fear in me because of lack of understanding of their situation?
How can I avoid been overwhelmed by the evil in the World and instead be trusting that God has overcome evil and that the power of Love is stronger than the power of evil?
How can I trust God more to heal me and others when my faith feels low?
How can I open my heart to God’s healing power instead of closing myself off and wanting to cope by myself?
This incident in the Gospels is a revelation of the compassion of Jesus for people like us. He will do anything he can to free us from demons, like fear, anxiety or resentment, that we have allowed to enslave us.
By staying close to Jesus, we have nothing to fear from the evil in the world. My prayer may be deeply personal but is never entirely private. It will always affect how I live with others, how I am in public.
I seek good now for myself and for all those with whom I live.
I pray that I may be drawn to what is good and turn easily from what is evil.
I pray that I may open myself to the love of God as I form relationships and try to understand the pain of others.