Wednesday, July 02, 2008


"Begone!" When I hear that archaic word, I'm more likely than not to associate it with the story of Jesus' temptation in the desert, when he dismissed the enemy of mankind with that one-word command. But in reading today's Gospel, I realized that this rough dismissal was probably used more often to send Jesus himself away (or at least to try!). Today we hear Matthew's account of the healing of two demon-possessed men in the (pagan) region of the Gadarenes. When the demons left the men and entered a huge herd of swine (leading to the death of every last porker and an immense financial loss for the owners), the townspeople came out to where Jesus was and asked him, probably not too kindly, to leave the district. Even Peter, when he had witnessed the miraculous catch of fish, told Jesus to leave. (At least Peter added the motive, which was "for I am a sinful man.") "He came unto his own, and his own did not receive him."

I suspect that even in Gadara there were many people who heard the news about the demoniacs and the swine, and felt a glimmer of hope that Jesus would come to them, too. Perhaps it was only the herd owners, probably the leading men of the town, who insisted that "the whole town" rise up to expel Jesus. Maybe it did not occur to them that anyone would welcome someone who could "bear our griefs and carry our sorrows." And so they sent God away, and God meekly left.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How desperately we need that archaic word "begone"in today's climate. "so they sent God away and God meekly left". Please come back.