2 Samuel 15:13-14,30,16:5-13
A messenger came to tell David, ‘The hearts of the men of Israel are now with Absalom.’ So David said to all his officers who were with him in Jerusalem, ‘Let us be off, let us fly, or we shall never escape from Absalom. Leave as quickly as you can in case he mounts a surprise attack and worsts us and puts the city to the sword.’
David then made his way up the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, his head covered and his feet bare. And all the people with him had their heads covered and made their way up, weeping as they went.
As David was reaching Bahurim, out came a man of the same clan as Saul’s family. His name was Shimei son of Gera, and as he came he uttered curse after curse and threw stones at David and at all King David’s officers, though the whole army and all the champions flanked the king right and left. The words of his curse were these, ‘Be off, be off, man of blood, scoundrel! the Lord has brought on you all the blood of the House of Saul whose sovereignty you have usurped; and the Lord has transferred that same sovereignty to Absalom your son. Now your doom has overtaken you, man of blood that you are.’ Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, ‘Is this dead dog to curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut his head off.’ But the king replied, ‘What business is it of mine and yours, sons of Zeruiah? Let him curse. If the Lord said to him, “Curse David,” what right has anyone to say, “Why have you done this?”’ David said to Abishai and all his officers, ‘Why, my own son, sprung from my body, is now seeking my life; so now how much the more this Benjaminite? Let him curse on if the Lord has told him to. Perhaps the Lord will look on my misery and repay me with good for his curse today.’ So David and his men went on their way.
Jesus and his disciples reached the country of the Gerasenes on the other side of the lake, and no sooner had Jesus left the boat than a man with an unclean spirit came out from the tombs towards him. The man lived in the tombs and no one could secure him any more, even with a chain; because he had often been secured with fetters and chains but had snapped the chains and broken the fetters, and no one had the strength to control him. All night and all day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he would howl and gash himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and fell at his feet and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God? Swear by God you will not torture me!’ – For Jesus had been saying to him, ‘Come out of the man, unclean spirit.’ ‘What is your name?’ Jesus asked. ‘My name is legion,’ he answered ‘for there are many of us.’ And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the district.
Now there was there on the mountainside a great herd of pigs feeding, and the unclean spirits begged him, ‘Send us to the pigs, let us go into them.’ So he gave them leave. With that, the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs, and the herd of about two thousand pigs charged down the cliff into the lake, and there they were drowned. The swineherds ran off and told their story in the town and in the country round about; and the people came to see what had really happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his full senses – the very man who had had the legion in him before – and they were afraid. And those who had witnessed it reported what had happened to the demoniac and what had become of the pigs. Then they began to implore Jesus to leave the neighbourhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed begged to be allowed to stay with him. Jesus would not let him but said to him, ‘Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in his mercy has done for you.’ So the man went off and proceeded to spread throughout the Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him. And everyone was amazed.
“Come out of the man, unclean spirit.”
In today’s world, as much as we can deny it, almost each of us have a ‘legion of demons’ residing in us. Most of these demons are completely unrecognizable. Would you believe that some of these demons are named Cynicism, Bitterness, Anger and Unforgiveness?
And like the demoniac in the today’s gospel, we’re causing hurt to both ourselves and those around us because of these demons. To the point which we think we need to isolate ourselves in order to ‘protect’ everyone, but what we’re actually doing is letting these demons oppress us. Letting them consume and drain us.
Sometimes, we try and control these demons ourselves by immersing in hobbies, exercise, work and every other distraction we can think of. We think we can exorcise or bind these demons ourselves but we forget that it is only Jesus that can truly free us. And this is something that even the demons know – the power of Jesus to save man – fearing what he would do to them.
In the gospel, Jesus immediately saw the oppression caused by the unclean spirits and commanded them to leave even if it came at a great economic price – the 2,000 pigs. This was not a popular decision with the villagers (the drowning of the pigs) and had Jesus chased away, but it just goes to show that Jesus places no economic value when it comes to saving even a single soul. Remember dear brothers and sisters, our Shepherd is willing to leave his entire flock alone to find the one lost sheep.
I believe today’s gospel is asking us to fully trust Jesus in order to be saved. No man-made control mechanism can ever truly free us of the little demons in our lives. No matter how strong we think we are, ultimately God is the real Strong One.
So, let us allow Jesus to approach us. Open the door when he knocks. Let him rid us of the ‘legion’ living in us. Have faith in the one true God.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Rebecca Grace)
Prayer: Lord, help us to see hope when there seems to be none and trust that, with Your guiding hand, you will save us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks dear God for never-ending mercy You bestow on us, no matter how many times we fail to follow Your word.