2 Samuel 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13 “If my own son, who came from my loins is seeking my life, how much more might this Benjaminite do so?...’”
Psalm 3: 2-3, 4-5, 6-7 “…Lord, rise up and save me….”
Mark 5: 1-20 “…the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him. But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead, ‘Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.’…”
Feast of St. John de Brito, S.J. (1647-1693) He was a martyr for his Faith; he spent a good amount of his time as a Missionary in India. He believed in the need to reach all people and he fully assimilated himself into their culture to be able to reach the people. His successful conversions cost him his life, to which he was grateful, calling his call to death the “object of his prayers.”
In thinking about King David in today’s first reading, my overwhelming thought is of how beautiful is this man’s spirit. He walked with the Lord throughout his life and his light shown brightly; he was, so to speak, shiny. David was deeply loyal, very blessed along the way, both in talent and victory against his enemies. But that wasn’t the picture we saw in today’s reading; his light is so dim, it didn’t seem like David. He seems to be a shell of the person we knew of earlier in his life. We find him leaving Jerusalem because one of his sons, Absalom is plotting to kill him. Since the point in time when the Lord speaks to David through the prophet Nathan, about his sin with Bathsheba, David’s life is very different and his difficulties are made very public. In the beginning of 1 Samuel and reading about David, we often find the words that “the Lord was with him”. But in today’s story we see how his choices have caused him to walk away from the Lord; and we are seeing the deadly consequences. But David will walk again with the Lord.
Aligning the theme of sin with the story of the man in today’s Gospel, where Jesus expels a legion of demons, from him I found a common image. The man has been estranged from the people of the town because he is possessed and does harm to himself and others; even chains can not contain him - he is so strong. This man’s light is so dim, and people fear him so he is estranged from family and from his town. To think there are people today who don’t believe in sin. Yet these readings point out so vividly how ugly our lives become with sin. The Gospel reading does not indicate how the man became possessed by so many demons. But, the first reading in 2 Samuel describes how David proceeded to disappoint the Lord with his decision to commit adultery. We have a very good visual of how sin can destroy you; and a very good visual of how forgiveness through Jesus restores our life. Jesus is more powerful than the legion of demons that have taken up residence in the man’s life in the Gospel. Therefore we can believe He is more powerful than any sin we might have that is dimming our light. This man is urged to reunite with his family, and tell all about the wonders Jesus worked in his life. And now he has told all of us. May we use this message to make a good examination of our own consciences, beg forgiveness through confession, and begin to walk in the light of Christ and become shiny again. Amen.
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