Daily Reflection
of Creighton University's Online Ministries
July 1st, 2009

Chas Kestermeier, S.J.

English Department
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Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
Genesis 21:5, 8-20a
Psalm 34:7-8, 10-11, 12-13
Matthew 8:28-34

In some stories of Jesus doing miracles it is Jesus who takes the initiative, and in others it is someone else who starts the exchange, who seeks a healing or another gift, but almost always the recipient of Jesus' action is grateful and praises God.  Not here.

Jesus is clearly in a pagan territory (Jews would not be raising herds of swine!), and He deals with two men and at the same time with the demons who possess them.  He treats the demons in what might almost be described as a friendly manner, granting their request to go into the pigs, and He frees the men to live relatively normal human lives.  Gratitude on the part of the demons, or the men, or their families, is far from apparent: the men and the people of the region plead with Jesus to leave them, apparently out of fear that He will take away more of their livelihoods.

When Jesus calls us to give up our sins and to accept life, we too have a certain reluctance to do so and we at least consider whether we are ready to let go or not: after all, we have found sin to be attractive and we have had at least some satisfaction in it.  We are indeed attached to our demons, to something we believe to be essential to our lives even if it is harmful.

This attitude that we know better than God does what is good for us, that we alone know what we need and what will make us happy, is more than a demon in us, more than an external agent, it is our very own willfulness and sinfulness.

And if we ask Jesus to stop ruining our lives by calling us to freedom, love, and generosity, He will respect our wishes and leave us alone, radically alone, with our sins.... 

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