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Dwelling in the Tombs

November 25, 2016

Once again, I am cleaning my desk, and find a stack of Reflections needing posting.  So here are some offerings for you to contemplate this Thanksgiving weekend, as Advent gets set to begin.  And then I will be changing up things a little, as I gear up for a future endeavor.  More on that later.  Thanks for your patience and love:

“Legion is my name.  There are many of us.”  And so are our sins: there are many.  So are our failings: there are many, also.  At first glance, Mark has us seeing the triumph of the Lord over the demon.  Scholars tell us this is one of the most difficult miracle stories to interpret.

So what is Legion?  Again, scholars suggest it could represent the Aramaic for soldier.  And aren’t we also battling constantly with society’s rules, and ourselves.  We hate our weaknesses – and we love our weaknesses.  We reject our sins – and we thrive in our sins.  We as humans, steeped in our original sin, are constantly fighting with ourselves.

So Jesus comes to the Gentile land of the Gerasenes.  And what does he do?  He justifies the man, this outcast.  Here was a man, so overcome with his sins, so overtaken by Legion, that he could no longer be restrained by any chain; nor did he need to be restrained – he dwelt in the tombs; so dead in his sinfulness was he.  In fact, he was so overcome by the demon that night and day held no difference between tomb and hillside.  And so it is when we are overcome by the poor choices we make in life.  When we reach that bottom, we can see very little except the evil that has overtaken us.

The crowd comes, the Gentiles, and immediately look in horror.  So immersed in their own bad choices, they would rather remain in the tomb than to step out into the light of salvation.  Too bad.  And isn’t it like today’s world.  We know the right answers.  We know what we are supposed to profess, yet it is difficult.  Today’s relativistic society has many convinced that it isn’t a matter of life’s importance that is a problem, but life’s inconveniences that are the problem.  When our elderly and infirmed are enough of a problem, we devise euthanasia as a solution, and in doing so rob them of the dignity of redemptive suffering.  When we no longer want our babies, we stand behind the false nobility of fighting overpopulation.  When medical procedures cost too much, we just need to stop funding them. And on it goes.  These are not surprise stories, we only need to listen to the voices of our Shepherds – our Pastors and Bishops – to get the truth.

So we are faced with our choices.  These Gentiles embrace the unclean swine – unclean by 1st century Judea’s standards – and reject the Messiah.  The message is lost.  Or is it?  In our Year of Mercy, we see the Lord is indeed merciful even to the demon, and allows him to stay in the region.  But Jesus also knows that evil cannot exist by itself, save a foothold in the good; and allowing the demon freedom, it self-destructs.

To this man, the Lord says to go home to his family, and tell them all he has done for him.  Like the Woman at the Well, he allows him to get a head start and proclaim the Good News.  More mercy.  This is in stark contrast to the Jews he touches with miracles – the blind, the leprous, the unclean.  It is almost such they need to come to their justification, individually.  Like David, in the first reading – a pre-figurement of Christ walking up the hill to Calvary.  The King accepts Shimei’s taunts and missiles, only because he has come to the realization that it just may be that Shimei is only following God’s instruction.

If only we could learn from David, and get society to follow instruction as well.

 

Love, Papa

February 1, 2916, Monday, Forth Week in Ordinary Time.

2 Samuel 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13. Let us take flight, or none of us will escape from Absalom. Let Shimei alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to.

Responsorial – Psalm 3:8 – Lord, rise up and save me.

Mark 5:1-20. Unclean spirit, come out of the man!

 

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