Monday, January 31, 2011

Jesus and the foreign Legion

At first when I read today's Scriptures last night in preparation for Mass and meditation, I thought that, plainly, the first reading was such a commentary on yesterday's Gospel (the Beatitudes, as I'm sure you readily recalled) that I would simply continue on yesterday's already-established tracks, but the pitiful situation of the possessed man in the Gadarene territory got my attention. Rather than thinking how far that story was from our contemporary experience, I was thinking how much it spoke to so much that happens in our world. Not just the fascination with the whole concept of demonic possession (Sr Helena touches on that in her review of The Rite), but even the tortured man's compulsive self-wounding: there are whole books written for counselors, parents and youth ministers on this phenomenon (and books written for those same audiences just focusing on a single form of self-wounding). Instead of coming up on the shore of the Gadarene territory, Jesus could have moored that boat along the banks of any of our cities to find people, young and old, who were just as afflicted as the man possessed by Legion.
I wonder how much of what was revealed after the demons were cast out applies in our modern cities, too: when it turned out that the healing had an economic downside, Jesus was cast out of the neighborhood! It's one thing to have an addled person screaming incoherently in a graveyard; it's another thing to have the whole town's bottom line rewritten by that person's re-entry into society. (They didn't even take the time to see if having this newly productive member would prove to be a greater benefit than the lost swine!) It's just interesting.
Anyway, for my part I really found myself bringing my own foreign Legion, the distracting and often destructive thought-patterns I can indulge (or serve), to Jesus. I don't want him getting back in his boat just yet!!!

No comments: