When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. The demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go!” So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water.
The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs. Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus crosses the Sea of Galilee to a Gentile region where he encounters two people possessed by demons. Known only by the label “demoniacs,” they live among tombs, scaring passersby. Isolated from their town, their inner demons prevent them from living a life of freedom.
But the demons recognize Jesus and his power; they beg him to be freed. Jesus does so with just one word.
Today, we label and demonize those tormented by addictions and mental illness. We fear and isolate those from “the other side.” But Jesus shows us that he himself is greater than any demon we may encounter—in others and in us.
On this Independence Day, consider what keeps you unfree. Do inner demons of anxiety or fear isolate you or imprison you in complacency? Can you reach out in compassion to someone in your neighborhood living isolated for whatever reason?
—Diane Amento Owens is a spiritual director who encourages her directees to see the world through the lens of Ignatian spirituality.
Lord, today I pray for those whose lives are held hostage
Because of the demons of others’ prejudice and hatred.
I also pray for those chained by inner demons that prevent them
From being all that you have called them to be.
Remove my chains so that I am free to reach out
To those who have been demonized or isolated.
Remove the shackles of my fear
So that I am free to share your love
With everyone I encounter this day.
Free me, Lord, so that I may go where you need me.
—Diane Amento Owens
Please share the Good Word with your friends!