The Gospel Today
Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat,
at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs,
and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains,
but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed,
and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides
he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
Catching sight of Jesus from a distance,
he ran up and prostrated himself before him,
crying out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
I adjure you by God, do not torment me!”
(He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”)
He asked him, “What is your name?”
He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.”
And he pleaded earnestly with him
not to drive them away from that territory.
Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside.
And they pleaded with him,
“Send us into the swine. Let us enter them.”
And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine.
The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea,
where they were drowned.
The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town
and throughout the countryside.
And people came out to see what had happened.
As they approached Jesus,
they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,
sitting there clothed and in his right mind.
And they were seized with fear.
Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened
to the possessed man and to the swine.
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
As he was getting into the boat,
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.”
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.
Reflection (Sem. Randy Buquis):
In today’s Gospel we seehow compassionate our God when he expelled the unclean spirit from the man living in the tombs on the hillside. We are invited to check and evaluate ourselves if we also possess unclean spirits in our heart.This can be preoccupation with material things, power and authority.
Last Christmas, during our caroling one of our formators delivered a reflection in the middle of the program and said that if we will remove Christ in the celebration of Christmas the focus will beon Santa Claus, gifts, Christmas lights and parties. According to him there is a big difference between them. Santa Claus only gives gifts to those who are nice and good but for those who are naughty they will receive nothing. Christ gives to allwithout condition no matter who you are. He always expresses His love for us no matter how sinful we are.
Here in the seminary we give awards every New Year to those who performed positively or negatively in the formation. This event is a form of feedbacking. This feedback given to our brother serves as a fraternal correction for the person to improve. This is also one way of checking ourselves through the help of the community in order to know these things unknown to us that we need to overcome. For me this is a good experience because it helps me know those unclean spirit in my heart which are not suitable in the formation and contrary to what God wills for me. We are expected not only to be aware or accept the feedbacks but to do something about it.