From a Creighton Student's Perspective
July 4, 2012
Sophomore, Biology Major, Spanish Minor
I have a hard time with this Gospel reading, but the reading today recounts an exorcism of two demoniacs by Jesus. Jesus encounters them outside of the town from which they were excluded, Gadarenes. Through Jesus’ great power, he cast the demons out into the herd of swine as the demons had pleaded, forcing the swine to drown in the sea. The swine herders left and told the town members of what Jesus had done. They were afraid probably both because the demon-possessed men would now return and of the great power of Jesus.
The main notion of today’s readings involves sacrifice—particularly the way to and not to perform it. It tells the people to abandon their former ways of performing sacrifice so that one can properly follow Jesus and his way. Although the Gospel doesn’t directly refer to this theme, the concept of having the entire swineherd drown seems somewhat of a sacrifice, since otherwise it would seem a waste to kill all of the swine, especially in a community that wouldn’t have eaten swine! It might be a sacrifice for the sake of these two men to live without being afflicted and possessed by demons, because Jesus cares about the salvation of man to this extent.
Regarding the first reading, God does not delight in the frivolous festivities in which the Israelites celebrate because he does not delight in the sacrifices they make in God’s name. Neither does God delight in the noises the people call songs; he finds their worship hypocritical. The people do not use their hearts in these sacrifices and festivities. God wants justice and peace to be the center of their sacrifices—to be the center of their lives. May we live in this way, focused on justice and peace.
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