Daily Reflection
June 30th, 2004
Deb Fortina
Academic Affairs
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.

“…Seek good and not evil, that you may live; Then truly will the LORD, the God of hosts, be with you as you claim!…
                                  Amos 5:14-15, 21-24 

Why do you recite my statutes, and profess my covenant with your mouth, though you hate discipline and cast my words behind you?”
                                 Psalm 50: 7-13, 16bc-17   

The demons pleaded with him, 'If you drive us out, send us into the heard of swine.'  And he said to them, 'Go then!'
                                Matthew 8:28-34 

In being assigned today’s readings, I agonized for a while over the Gospel passage about Jesus expelling demons and allowing them to go into a herd of swine.  A couple of years back, I had read this same story although it might have been in Mark’s Gospel, and I got hung up on why Jesus allowed the demons to go into the herd of swine.  My spiritual director told me I’d taken my eyes off Jesus.  I never really did figure out what he meant, and gave up trying; and so I felt this story had come back to haunt me when I read the words again.  After reading Collegeville’s commentary and a friend loaned me his bible reference works by D.J. Harrington, S.J., there was alot of speculation about those details; I began to see why my spiritual director had told me I’d taken my eyes off Jesus.  Of course in conjunction with today’s other readings, it started to make sense.

In the reading from the prophet Amos we are advised in a most serious way not to say one thing, and with our actions present another.  In other words pay more attention to the person you are in the inside, the part that God sees, instead of the exterior signs you present for the world to see.

This theme is followed up in the reading from Psalm 50 we don’t perform all of our sacrifices for the Lord’s sake, for the world belongs to Him.  But, rather we perform those sacrifices for our own sake, to help us with the construction of becoming a better human being.  If we think otherwise, the offering will have no effect on our interior life.  The sacrifice is to have its effect deep down inside and bring us closer to the heart of God.  I could relate to the phrase “though you hate discipline”.  There remains in me a strong feeling of the relief I felt when I left home and did not have to live under the disciplinary rules of my parent’s household.  Unfortunately, ignoring discipline has helped me to grow lazy in some respects.  Even though I can see examples that with discipline, I have become stronger, i.e. a better bike rider.  Yes discipline can be uncomfortable, but human beings fare better with it, than without it.  Exploring discipline applies to all dimensions of our life.

Finally, I read the Words of Matthew’s Gospel in the eighth Chapter, with new understanding.  As the Psalm challenges us to seek good and not evil; the lesson in the Gospel for me has come down to how powerful Christ Jesus really is.  Not only did He resist the devil’s temptation when He went into the desert for 40 days; He has the power to expel demons.  Therefore, no matter what we have gotten ourselves into; maybe we have pursued evil instead of good; but by getting back to Jesus we can be assured of being rescued.  Catholics recognize in the outward sign of the sacrament of Penance a deliverance of Grace, the power to follow Christ in our lives, to help us resist evil.  By making a good confession and from deep inside wanting to make a change, and in doing the penance the priest asks us to do, we can get back on the right path towards healing.  If we fall down again, we go back to the well of Jesus, in this sacrament, in order to get the strength to direct our will power to resist the evil the next time.  To me the small sacrifices made during Lent have helped show me how to restore my will power, and with the help from heaven above in the Sacrament of Penance, I have been able to shed some of my old patterns and sins, even those that were with me a long time.  Yes, I have still other hills to climb, but I do so with more hope.   Like by bicycle training, you have to do some things that are difficult in order to have the strength to make it through the tougher parts of your ride; riding up a mile and a half incline, into the wind is made possible by pushing your way through all those weeks of training on smaller hills.  It is true God didn’t make junk the human being/body is truly amazing. For the Christian we walk with hope, even though ours will not always be the easy route.

Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Let Your Friends Know About This Reflection By Sending Them An E-mail


Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook