Monday in the Fourth Week of Ordinary Time
I like ghost stories with a dash humor, like this one: A man was walking through a cemetery on a black, rainy night when he fell into an open grave. He couldn’t get out. Then another man making his way through the cemetery fell into the same open grave. Over and over he tried to climb out, but kept slipping back. Then he felt a hand grasp his shoulder behind him and a voice said, “You can’t get out of here.” But he did!
The encounter with the Gerasene demoniac is the eeriest episode in the life of Jesus. It was the middle of the night, after Jesus had silenced the wind and calmed the waves. As the boat was approaching the other shore a piercing howl rang out in the thick darkness, terrifying to hear! A demoniac, who was always crying out and cutting himself with stones, lived among the tombs, those caves in the rugged limestone cliffs where the dead were buried and evil spirits roamed about. No shackles or chains could bind him. When the screaming demoniac caught sight of Jesus, he ran towards him. Was he running to attack Jesus the way he had subdued all others? Jesus waited for him. Instead of attacking, he fell prostrate, cowering in fear and crying out in a loud voice, “Why are you messing with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” When Jesus asked his name, he replied, “Legion, for there are many of us.” They pleaded with him, “Send us into the swine.” He let them go, and the herd of about two thousand rushed into the sea and were drowned. Not one, not even the power of thousands of demons can’t match the absolute sovereignty of Jesus, the Son of God. That’s why I can enjoy scary ghost stories.
But there’s another consoling reality in this contest between Jesus and the demons. Jesus once said to his disciples, “You are worth more than many sparrows” (Mt. 10:31). Now we know that each of us is worth even more than thousands of hogs!