As the disciples’ boat arrives at Gerasa a man with an “unclean spirit” comes from the tombs towards them. It is much like a modern-day horror film that would cause fright and fear. The man had supernatural strength and was uncontrollable. He would howl and gash himself with stones, so his appearance must have been terrifying.
At the sight of Jesus, this man ran to Him, fell to the ground and worshiped Him, and shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” The man seemed to sense that Jesus could free him from a horrible oppression, and the evil spirits knew that Jesus had divine power over them.
At the end of this Gospel reading, we learn that the man was freed from the demon named Legion when Jesus sent the demons into a herd of pigs. The pigs then jumped off the cliff and died. Instead of the townspeople rejoicing that this man was saved from his affliction by the demonic spirit, they were more worried about the loss of the pig herd and were afraid of our Lord.
Not only did they not thank Jesus for freeing the community from this demonic and frightful man, they, in return, asked Jesus to leave. Just think of their missed opportunity by not inviting Jesus to heal and help their families from their sickness and afflictions. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life; He sets us free from sin, and yet, we must be open to this personal transformation. We must invite the Lord into our life.
However, all was not lost. The man set free from a life of demonic possession was now free to proclaim the Gospel. Even though the townspeople were afraid of Jesus and asked Him to depart, Christ left them a messenger of the Good News who had a powerful testimony. Jesus asked the cured demoniac to “Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in His mercy has done for you.” Words for all of us to reflect on. Our personal testimony is a most powerful witness for the Holy Spirit to reach other hearts through us.
Emily Jaminet is a Catholic author, speaker, radio personality, wife, and mother of seven children. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mental health and human services from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. She is the co-founder of www.inspirethefaith.com and the Executive Director of The Sacred Heart Enthronement Network www.WelcomeHisHeart.com. She has co-authored several Catholic books and her next one, Secrets of the Sacred Heart: Claiming Jesus’ Twelve Promises in Your Life, comes out in Oct. 2020. Emily serves on the board of the Columbus Catholic Women’s Conference, contributes to Relevant Radio and Catholic Mom.com.
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