Do you ever feel driven by forces that seemed beyond your control? In today’s gospel, a man driven mad by the evil force of a legion found hope and help in the one person who could set him free.
A legion is no small force–it is an army of 6000 strong! The devils inside this man from Gerasene had taken control of his life from him. Like a person struggling in quicksand, this man had fallen deeper and deeper into his pit of isolation, violence, anger, and hopelessness. It is bad enough in life to be driven by one demon, but this poor man was possessed by so many that when Jesus asked their name, the terrible answer came back, "Legion is my name. There are many of us."
As Jesus passed by, the Gerasene prostrated himself and asked for help. Jesus always hears the cry of the poor and He responds immediately. Jesus cast out the man’s demons and left him in control for the first time in a very long time.
While this story is about the Gerasene demoniac, it is also our story. The demons that besiege us–whether they be an addiction, or greed, or lust, or any other evil force–they are powers that are often beyond our control. Like the Gerasene, we too can be freed from these demons if we are willing to ask for help.
This is the kind of thing that happens when Jesus passes by! Just ask: the woman at the well, bartimaeus, the lame man at the pool of Bethesda, the leper, the blind man, saul of Tarsus, Aacchaeus, Lazarus-and me! This is my story. On December 5, 1982, my experience may not have been as dramatic a story as some of those mentioned above, but what a powerful difference Jesus made in my life when he passed by where I was on that day!
Deacon Brian Clements is on the staff at Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, California. [email protected]