(Mt 8: 28-34)
When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes,
two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.
They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.
They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God?
Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?”
Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.
The demons pleaded with him,
“If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.”
And he said to them, “Go then!”
They came out and entered the swine,
and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea
where they drowned.
The swineherds ran away,
and when they came to the town they reported everything,
including what had happened to the demoniacs.
Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus,
and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.
Today’s Gospel reading tells the story of how Jesus healed two possessed men at the expense of some pigs. The exorcism is meant to accentuate the power of Jesus in His ministry-that He has authority over the Evil One. This power continues to reside in His Church even today and will remain in her until the end of time. It surely is consoling to know that in spite of the abundant evidence of the destructive forces of evil in our world we are not to give in to fear because the power of God is far greater than the power of evil.
Surprisingly, this demonstration of power in exorcising the demons that possessed the two men did not elicit faith among the people. They were scared of Jesus and saw Him as a threat to their local economy. They wanted Him to leave their locality because they are angry at the loss of their pigs. Apparently they preferred the demons and swine to the presence of Jesus. They did not recognize what a big blunder in failing to recognize that for Jesus the lives and well-being of two people are more important than a thousand pigs.
Daily Gospel 2017