The Healing of the Gadarene Demoniacs
We are faced with the reality of a devil possession as reported in today’s gospel. Belief in the devils is part and parcel of the Christian faith. Devil is not a myth. He exists. He is real. Jesus calls him the “father of lies.” He is an evil spirit who refuses to serve God and recognize His sovereignty at the beginning of time. And so we must remember that if we lie, refuses to serve God and recognizes His sovereignty in our lives, we are coming close to the devil.
According to C.S. Lewis in his, Against the Night (p. 46), he wrote: “The greatest evil is not done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to pain. It is conceived and moved, seconded, carried, and minuted in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voices.”
But if we reflect more deeply, there are three things that need to be meditated by us about this gospel passage. These are: First, the power of Jesus over demons is absolute. They are mortally afraid of Him. It is because the demons are no match for Jesus and their power is of no match with His power.
But above all God is not the author of evil, but He is the author of creation and of the risk inherent in it. The significance of the cross of Jesus is that the one who suffers most because of sin is not us but God Himself and it is by His own action in the cross that the power of evil is actually overcome.
Second Jesus shows kindness even to the devil. He grants them their wish to enter the pigs. He says to them: “Go then!” He could do what the demons fear, that is, “come to torture them before the appointed time.” But He does not torture them. Instead, he shows mercy even top these evil beings.
How about us, are we kind even to the most wanted criminals? You know what, according to Billy Graham: “Often the only thing a child can remember about an adult in later years, when he/she is grown, is whether or not that person was kind to him/her.” So let us better watch out.
The third is the reaction of the Gadarene population. The text says: “They begged Him to leave their district.” These words are among the saddest in the whole Bible. You know why? It is because what matters to them are the material goods. The Gadarenes are more sensitive to the death of pigs than to make the two demoniacs normal and have a normal life as human beings. These people are, no doubt, aware that the presence of Jesus could be a source of great blessings for their community. But they reject the blessings. They are blind to spiritual good.
And so let us not lead another to commit evil act. It because according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (no.1869): “Thus sin makes men accomplices of one another and causes concupiscence, violence, and injustice to reign among them. Sins give rise to social situations and institutions that are contrary to the divine goodness. ‘Structures of sin’ are the expression and effect of personal sins. They lead their victims to do evil in their turn. In an analogous sense, they constitute a ‘social sin.’”