Readings:

2 Samuel 15: 13-14, 30; 16: 5-13
Mark 5: 1-20

Reflection:

In today’s Gospel Jesus is confronted by a raving man possessed by an evil spirit. This man was so out of control that even iron fetters could not hold him down. The on-looking disciples must have been scared witless as they observed the interaction between their Master and the forces of evil. And yet even the evil spirit that had caused so much physical destruction to this poor man could not resist the attraction of Jesus. There was something about Jesus that it could not overcome.  Jesus’ primary goal was to heal the man when the possessed man pleaded for his help.

Jesus’ response to the evil spirits plea not to be dispelled out of the district is interesting. They didn’t want to return to the depths of the earth where they could not do any more harm – they wanted to still hang around and continue their rule of terror. Instead Jesus extorts them to leave the man and take hold of a herd of 2000 pigs, who then hurl themselves off the edge of the cliff to their deaths and so the spirits are ultimately destroyed.

In times of evil, when there seems to be no hope Jesus is there waiting to cure, bring peace and restore right relationship between us and God. When our tempers get the better of us and words just fly out of our mouths that inflict damage to ourselves and to those around us these are the moments when we need to fall at Jesus’ feet and ask for healing and forgiveness. Jesus never refuses anybody’s desire for help especially in times of anguish.

Victoria Raw is parishioner of Te Whetu O Te Moana, Star of the Sea Marlborough, NZ and is active in lay ministry.