Today’s gospel is from Matthew 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.
There are several thing to note about this passage. First, even the demoniacs knew who Jesus was. Pharisees and Sadducees couldn’t see it, but the demoniacs realized that Jesus had power over them. They asked him what he was going to do to them, suggesting that he send them into the herd of swine.
After the pigs drowned in the sea, the unemployed herdsmen went into town to report what happened. The townspeople came out and asked Jesus to leave their district. Why? Was it because he was wreaking havoc with their economy or taking food from their table? Or maybe they knew what demons they had in them, but didn’t want to be cleansed.
Is that what we’re afraid of, too? They begged him to leave their neighborhood. When have we wished that Jesus would just go away and leave us to our comfortable lives, our comfortable routines? If we allow Jesus into our lives, and trust him TOTALLY,he’ll have power over us, we will no longer have need of those inner demons in us. No need of vices, no need of worldly attachments. What are our swine that we grieve when they run away and are lost? What part of us says, “Not yet! I am not ready to give up my favorite idol, my little tiny faults, my nice, soft, foggy blindness that keeps me from seeing God’s truth.”
St Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church, writes
“The devil by chance may have intended to take away my peace and quiet so that on account of such disturbance I wouldn’t be able to pray, and thus would lose my soul. Thoughts of this sort, all mixed together, he put before my mind; I was powerless to think of anything else. This state was accompanied by an affliction and obscuirty and darkness of soul that I wouldn’t know how to exaggerate. Finding myself in such a condition, I made a visit to the Blessed Sacrament…Certainly, I think, it was one of the most difficult periods in my life. It seems my spirit anticipated the many things I had yet to pass through, although they weren’t as severe as this suffering would have been should it have lasted. But the Lord did not let his poor servant suffer long, for never did he fail to succor me in my tribulations. And he did so in my present one, for he gave me a little light to enable me to see it was the devil and to understand the truth that it was all due to the devil’s desire to frighten me with lies. As a result, I began to recall my strong resolutions to serve the Lord and my desires to suffer for Him. I reflected that if I were to fulfill these desires I couldn’t go about seeking rest; and that if I had trials, they would be meritorious; and if unhappiness, it would serve as purgatory if I accepted it in the service of God; that I had nothing to fear, for since I desired trials, these troubles were good; that the greater the opposition, the greater the gain. And why did I lack courage to serve one whom I owed so much?”
From The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Volume One.