Heb 11:32-40; Ps 31:20-24; Mk 5:1-20
Only by becoming a saint will anyone enjoy the fullness of the Kingdom of God. Notice it’s about becoming a saint not about being canonized a saint. Still, this is one of the most revolutionary teachings from Vatican Council II. Every child of God is welcome to hide in the shelter of the LORD from the plotting of men. We are shielded from the strife of tongues. Blessed be the LORD, who in his mercy, has shown us a fortified city. Indeed, the LORD has heard the sound of our pleading when we cry out to Him. We love the LORD; God is faithful to his faithful ones. The LORD keeps all who are constant, but the LORD more than requites those who act proudly. All who live in faith will receive what has been promised. In today’s gospel we hear the Lord Jesus answering our question, you are the one who has faith and to you more will be given, “packed down and overflowing”.
Our ancestors in the faith did what was righteous and obtained the promises. Great signs and wonders abounded in their lives and ministries. Out of our weakness arises the strength of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They lived in faith and their lives encourage us still. We continue to need signs and wonders to summon those who have no faith. We can expect to be rejected and persecuted; yet we continue to perform signs and wonders. They were not afraid even though they were tortured; they had no fear even in the face of death they received a better resurrection. What about us; do we live without fear? Imprisonment and affliction were a part of the pain inflected upon those who believed. Indeed, the world was not worthy of these men and women of faith. With all these and countless more, we celebrate the something better than we never could have asked or imagined. Living by faith demands that we live in the reality of threats and dangers all around.
The Lord Jesus did all that he could for the possessed man and for the local community. The great irony is that he took away the demon, Legion, that had caused so much fear among the town’s folk and they transferred that fear to the Lord. Now, they didn’t want him around; now, they feared the Lord Jesus. Because of this great sign of his power and love, the Lord was no longer welcome there. Therefore, he had to leave behind the man who had been possessed to witness to his family and to the Decapolis what the Lord Jesus had done for him. This wondrous healing brought amazement to all who heard of it. Indeed, all of our demons and addictions cause us to engage in self-destruction. We may not have the nightly ritual of bruising ourselves with stones, but we do dwell among the tombs of our dead hopes and frustrated dreams. Out of despair and darkness the Lord Jesus has summoned us. His power is beyond our empty hopes and groundless fears. His power is revealed in the depths of our hearts as we struggle with temptation and sin. It is the power of the blood of the Lamb, not the blood of a large herd of swine that sets us free from the power of sin and death. Like the liberated demoniac of the Gerasenes we too have a most amazing testimony about the Lord Jesus. His very arrival in our neighborhood causes the demons to fear and the possessed to be free.