Monday of the 4th Week of the Year

Mk 5:1-20

The Healing of the Gerasene Demoniac

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

God is not the source of sin; he neither commits nor wills nor prompts it (James 1:13). God made rational creatures who were capable of loving him freely and by choice and that meant they could freely choose not to love him—which is what some angels and all our race have done. How such disobedience is possible, while God is Lord of this world, we cannot conceive; that it is possible, however, is undeniable, for it has happened.

How did sin enter the cosmos? Scripture tells us that Satan and his angels rebelled against the Creator before man was made (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6), so that when the first human beings appeared “that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan” (Rev. 20:2) was there to trip them up (Gen. 3). And “the tempter,” the “ruler” and “god of this world” (1 Thess. 3:5; John 14:30; 2 Cor. 4:4) still marauds with serpentine cunning and lion-like savagery. It is right to trace moral evil back to Satan as its patron, promoter, producer, director, and instigatory cause.

Where do the inclinations to evil which I find in myself, and so often yield to, come from? The Bible says their source is my own heart (James 1:13-15; Mark 7:21-23). Just as a cripple’s twisted leg makes him walk lame, so the motivational twist of my fallen heart—anti-god, anti-other, self-absorbed—constantly induces wrong attitudes and actions. (Your Father Loves You by James Packer, (Harold Shaw Publishers, 1986), page for February 24)

[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 mankind but God himself and it is by his own action in the cross that the power of evil is actually overcome. (The Satan Syndrome, Nigel Wright, Zondervan, 1990, p. 68)

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Evil is the product of the misuse of God-given freedom and that the possibility that free beings might choose evil rather than good is a necessary part of human freedom .As it is logically impossible for God to create a free being who automatically does what is right (in this case there would be no freedom) he has therefore introduced into the creation a freedom which is neither conditioned nor predetermined .he has chosen to create a world in which there are free creatures because it is the best possible way towards the kind of people God ultimately desires .God is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good but that it was not within God’s power to create a world containing moral good without creating one containing the possibility of moral evil. The risk of evil is therefore a necessary part of free existence and is incompatible with neither the power nor the love of God. (The Satan Syndrome, Nigel Wright, Zondervan, 1990, pp. 81-2)

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As C.S. Lewis 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.”

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Jesus encountered a man with an evil spirit; evil spirit was so strong that nobody could control him. Only Jesus’ words and power freed the man from the evil spirit that enslaved him.

In our daily lives, we too are experiencing the cosmic battle between God and Satan. Sometimes, our strong fears, doubts, feelings of shame and guilt are controlling us. Let us not be surprised by demonic attacks. They will increase but with Jesus at our side they are powerless. Jesus’ light, power and strength are stronger than the evil one. He frees and heals His people. He never abandons us in our moments of weakness and failures.

We can also learn from the man of today’s gospel his joyful attitude and deep gratitude to Jesus for the experience of being healed. He follows Jesus’ command to proclaim to all his experience of God’s goodness and kindness. We too are experiencing healing in many different ways. Let us not forget to thank God for the gift we are receiving and let us be generous in sharing the goodness of God. (Sr. Marian Herrera, SSpS Bible Diary 2005)

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May I be forgiven or at least not declared crazy or sacrilegious that the most vivid images that come to me from this gospel incident is not Jesus or the possessed man but the PIGS! Oh, I am not all that crazy about pork (too much of it is bad for my health I am told). But struck me that the text says there were “about two thousand pigs” in the area. Two thousand! Can you imagine that, two thousand pigs all together at one time? Maybe the largest number of pigs I have seen together would be 20 – in a truck heading for the slaughterhouse. Two thousand pigs would mean 100 trucks each containing 20 pigs. Wow, what a “porka-cade.” But in the gospel story, there were, of course, no trucks.  They were just there, all of them ambling around perhaps in search of food.

May no one of us ever be possessed by the devil or devils – 1000, 100, 10 or even just one. May that never happen indeed. But perhaps, if we may not have been possessed by the devil or devils, might we not have been possessed by 2000 SINS? Maybe not at the same time, but cumulatively as it were, since we committed our first sin? If even the just fall at least 7 times a day, what about us, unjust men/women, how many more times do we fall through our nights and days? Seen from this perspective, if it is hard to picture 2000 pigs, it should not be as hard to accept that maybe, just maybe, we may have committed 2000 sins.

But perhaps the saving factor of this rather bizarre imagining is the happy truth that just as Jesus cast out at one time 2000 devils from the possessed man in the gospel, He does the same to you and me. When we are sorry for our sins and confess them, Jesus forgives us, no matter how many or big or black they may be. Every sin is wiped out, lost in eternal oblivion. They no go anywhere – not even to pigs.

Se next time we have lechon, may we just enjoy it, calorie-count notwithstanding. But we may not forget to thank the Lord for His graciousness, His forgiveness and His love, and do as the man in the gospel was asked to do: announce to all what the Lord in His mercy has done for us. (Fr. Roderick Salazar, SVD Bible Diary 2006)

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“Why meddle with me, Jesus Son of God Most High? I implore you in God’s name do not torture me!” These words came from ‘the man from the tombs,’ as he shrieked in a loud voice. This man was not only filthy; he had an unclean spirit in him. Fearsome and troubled, he was truly a man from the tombs. Amazing, that a man with an unclean spirit recognized Jesus for what he is; Son of God Most High!

But knowledge alone does not necessarily lead to faith and commitment. In fact, as somebody observes, knowledge without integrity is a tragedy.

Clearly, the man from the tombs was afraid of Jesus, the One who would one day come out of the tomb himself radiant and victorious. He implored Jesus not to torment him, for Jesus, was exorcizing the man. That’s a good way to define it: exorcizing is tormenting an evil spirit possessing a man into going out of him.

Interestingly that the unclean spirit or spirits, because there were many of them and after all, also pleaded in real earnest not to be driven away from that neighborhood. So there are certain places (and persons!) where (in whom) evil spirits feel at home.

Would they have felt at home in those swine also? And when the swine were drowning were the evil spirits able to escape?

Some matter of curiosity, those, but now look at the man possessed by the Legion just a while before! He is now decently dressed; he is now in his right mind. He is set free, at last. And he wants to be in the company of his Liberator.

Truly, a liberation it was! For the man was not only under the influence of an evil spirit; he was the dwelling place of Legion. He was what he would never have wanted to be. He was a prisoner without hope of regaining his freedom.

Until Jesus came along and caught sight of him….

Indeed, Jesus came to set prisoners free! Now free, the man from the tombs would very much like to be in the company of Jesus. But Jesus would rather have him to do a particular mission: “Go home to your family and make it clear to them how much the Lord in His mercy had done for you.”

Home? For the man, home was way beyond the confines of the house where his family lived. For he proclaimed throughout The Ten Cities what Jesus had done for him.

At his proclamation, many must have come to realize, as many must still come to realize – that they don’t have to rot in the tombs of their vices, their fears, their doubts, their hatred and the like but they may come out and bask in the sunshine of God’s healing power. All they have to do is to put themselves within sight of Jesus and call out to Him from the depths of their misery. (Fr. Dong Alpuerto, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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Visiting a prison, one cannot help to be afraid. Even with the presence of prison guards, riots may suddenly erupt that an innocent visitor may find himself in the middle of a gang war. The appearances of the prisoners – half-naked, tattooed, fierce-looking, dirty – makes one feel walking among wild animals sniffing for something to devour. One cannot feel safe in a den of lions. Yet, there are prisoners, who still manage to wear smiling faces, are respectful and courteous in their manners, with calm disposition amidst an atmosphere of brewing tensions and issues with the prison walls. Their aura strongly appears as signs of inner joy. Amazingly, they have experienced inner conversion in the most unlikely places. Through the prison apostolate, some have found Jesus Christ. Their life stories are true-to-life sources of inspiration.

The ugliness of sin reveals itself in the damages it can do to any person. The man who had an unclean spirit illustrates the evil he can do against himself, not mentioning the harm he can cause to others. in most cases, the sinner becomes like a wild animal. But there is always hope for renewal and transformation that happens through conversion. Conversion is beyond human effort. It is the work of God, of Jesus Christ our Lord, who encounters and leads every sinner to a new life.  By the grace of God, a sinner regains his lost dignity, and become a person again. It is through the experience of conversion that the Lord and His mercy are proclaimed. In other words, a sinner is always called to conversion as God moves or leads the way to conversion which consequence results in the transformation of a sinner. Transformation is made complete by proclaiming the goodness of the Lord (Fr. Fred Saniel SVD, Bible Diary 2013)

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February 1, 2016 Monday

Evil is a reality in this world that we cannot either deny nor ignore. We can be subject to evil. It can enter our hearts and it can rule our lives. We have seen our share of evil people who are so powerful that it would seem nobody can topple them from their self-made thrones.

“Legion is my name, there are many of us”… said the evil spirit. A person can be possessed not just by one evil spirit, but by many. The more they are, the stronger they will be and it will be very difficult to get rid of these evil spirits. The person himself may try, although the reality is he might be helpless in the presence of such power. People might try to help him but they, too, will experience the limitations of their own strength.

Let us, once more, visit our Gospel reading and refresh in our hearts the great truth it holds. The evil spirits made the man strong. No one could subdue him. No chain could hold him. Until Jesus came along.

Read again what the evil spirit said to Jesus. “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” Even the evil one recognizes Jesus and knows that only Jesus has the power to let it come out of the man.

And thus we are reminded of this great and important fact. That no matter how powerful the presence of evil is, no matter how strong its influence over us is, it will not be able to rule our lives… if Jesus is with us. (Fr. Chito Lorenzo, SVD | Japan Bible Diary 2016)

Source: rveritas-asia.org/index.php/daily-reflection/441-february-1-2016-monday

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My Reflection: This gospel episode of Jesus encounter with the man possessed by the evil spirit can happen to anyone of us. The liberation from the possession of the evil spirit that Jesus did to this man can also happen to us. The conversion of this freed man who later became Jesus follower can also happen to us too!

But why are there possessions by an evil spirit? This happen because we distance ourselves from Jesus. Or we don’t distance ourselves from Jesus but we don’t take His teachings seriously! By doing so we give room for the evil one to operate and take control of ourselves.

For example, yes we pray and go to Holy Mass. But how come that it seems that we still don’t have peace and contentment? Yet in our own standards we think that we are close to Jesus. This happen because we don’t take Jesus seriously.

We are often times followers in name only. Therefore we open ourselves to the possession of the many evils of our times. What are these? Lust, lack of peace of mind, deep discontent unwarranted anger and so on and so forth.

Take Jesus seriously, read and reflect on His words and live His teachings. If we do this the evil one will surely keep a safe distance from us.

But do we take Jesus seriously? (Marino J. Dasmarinas)

Source: mjdasma.blogspot.com/2014/02/my-reflection-for-monday-february-3.html

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Monday, February 1, 2016

Reflection for February 1, Monday of the Fourth Week; Mark 5:1-20

Reflection: Do you plead to Jesus to change you and make you a better person?

The man possessed by the legions of devil pleaded with Jesus not to drive them away from the territory instead they wanted Jesus to send them into the herd of pigs. So Jesus did what they wanted: He allowed them to enter the group of swine/pigs. However the herd rushed into the sea where they drowned.

Why did Jesus did not annihilate the legion (evils) instantly instead He allowed them to transfer to the herd of swine only to die by drowning? Perhaps, Jesus acceded to their request because Jesus wanted them to convert and get rid of their evil ways, but they did not.

In our own very life we would always encounter life changing occurrences. Such as survive a major health problems or major accidents. And it serves as our wake-up call from God to change our ways and leave behind sinfulness. There are some of us who get an awareness of this life changing episode so we change and leave behind our sinfulness. However there are also those who refuse to change and they move-on with their sinful ways.

What would happen to those who refuse to leave behind sinfulness? To those who continue to ignore God’s call to conversion? To those who were given by God a second chance but refused to grab it? – Marino J. Dasmarinas

Source: http://mjdasma.blogspot.com/2016/02/reflection-for-february-1-monday-of.html

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February 01, 2016

REFLECTION: Both of today’s readings present us with an example of quite extraordinary meekness—and God knows that we all need such examples in an age like ours when we are so sensitive about our rights and prerogatives!
The first example is given by David. He is fleeing from his rebellious son Absalom. And he is being cursed on his way by a certain Shimei. David’s men went to kill Shimei for his audacity, but David tells them to leave Shimei alone, hopeful that God would “turn to good things” those curses.

The second example of meekness is given by Jesus, who meekly allows evil spirits to enter into pigs—considered at the time of Jesus to be supremely unclean animals and, therefore, well suited to demonic possession. On the other hand, as a kind of contrast to this largeness of heart, we have the mean-spirited attitude of the Gerasenes. They are more concerned about the loss of their pigs than about the pre­sence of Jesus restoring a possessed madman to sanity. So they beg Jesus to go away. Obviously their pocketbook is more important than their souls. How would we have reacted in their place?

CLARETIAN COMMUNICATIONS FOUNDATION, INC.

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Source: http://www.schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3430-february-01-2016

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Sunday, January 31, 2016

MONDAY OF THE 4TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR C) – MARCOS 5:1-20. UNSA MAY KALAINAN TALI SA TAWONG DAOTAN UG SA MAAYO? Ang mga daotang espiritu nga diha sa tawo’ng giyawaan nagpakilooy kang Hesus nga dili sila sakiton. Gawas niana, wala na silay laing gipangayo. Wala sila mangandoy nga mahiusa sa Ginoo; ug gani, mas gipili pa nila nga ipadala ngadto sa mga baboy ug malumos sa lanaw. Human ayoha ni Hesus ang tawo nga giyawaan, giayo usab niya ang iyang mga relasyon. “Pauli sa imong kaugalingong katawhan ug sultihi sila unsa kadako ang gihimo sa Ginoo kanimo.” Kining ebanghelyo nagpakita sa kalainan tali sa kahimtang sa tawo nga giharian sa yawa ug sa tawo nga nahiusa na sa Dios. Ang tawo’ng yawan-on walay makahuloganong relasyon; samtang ang tawo’ng matarong mahiusa sa gugma uban sa Dios ug sa isigkaingon. Posted by Abet Uy

Source: http://www.abetuy.blogspot.com/2016/01/monday-of-4th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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FOURTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME

Monday, February 1, 2016

2 Sam 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13a; Mk 5:1-20

Do you have demon in you?

The healing of a person with unclean spirit, infected with ‘Legion’, provides us with certain parameters with which we can judge whether we have a ‘demon’ in us or not.

If you are with a ‘demon’, your behaviour will have these characteristics;

  1. Just as the demoniac loved to live among the tombs (v.3), you too will have no enthusiasm for the life.
  2. Just as the demoniac had to be secured with fetters and chains (v.4), you may have to be controlled with rules and regulations always. It means you don’t experience inner freedom.
  3. Just as demoniac was howling all night and day (v.5) disturbing others’ peace, you too may have no concern for others.
  4. Demoniac inflicted wounds on himself with stones (v.5).  Same way, you too may not accept but criticise yourself always. You may be living in low self esteem.
  5. Demoniac ran towards Jesus so that he can beg him not to cast him out (vv 6, 7). Your relationship with God will be guided by your selfish interests not out of love for God

Instead, if you are free of ‘demon’, your behaviour will have these characteristics;

  1. After the healing, people found the man sitting with Jesus (v.15a). Jesus is the real life. You too will love to live in self-esteem, thanking God for the great gift of ‘YOU’.
  2. After the healing, the man was found in his full senses (v. 15b). You will have right use of all your senses that will lead to the experience of freedom in life.
  3. The man proclaimed the mercy of God in Decapolis (v. 20). It shows his concern for others that they too should know the love of God and turn to God.
  4. The man was with clothes (v.15b). You will have proper awareness of your inner worth as a child of God and will take care of yourself.
  5. The man wanted to follow Jesus (v.18). Your relationship with God will be based on true love. You will be always grateful to him for his mercy towards you.

The ‘demon’ in us could be our ego/selfishness/pride and so on. One evil will give birth to many and will become a ‘Legion’. But, if we encounter Jesus the love, we will be cured of. Then we will be leading a life-in-love. Fr. Johnson Bezalel CMI

Source: navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-02-1

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See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Monday of the 4th Week of the Year

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