Negotiating with God

July 5, 2017
Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The Gospel Today
Matthew 8:28-34

When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes,
two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.
They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.
They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God?
Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?”
Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.
The demons pleaded with him,
“If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.”
And he said to them, “Go then!”
They came out and entered the swine,
and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea
where they drowned.
The swineherds ran away,
and when they came to the town they reported everything,
including what had happened to the demoniacs.
Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus,
and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.

REFLECTION (Sem. Edgar R. Calma)

In our everyday dealings and transactions with people, we normally encounter process of haggling, bargaining, or negotiations. For example, when buying something in well-known market places such as the “Tianggihan” or in Divisoria, the bargaining strategy of the buyer is to ask for discounts, some, even half the price. On the other hand, the seller’s strategies are quality product, “sales talk”, and value for money compared to other well-known stores and outlets. So that if the price is not right among other considerations, the buyer can easily disengage with the haggling.

The Gospel for today, relates to us two separate incidents of negotiations with Jesus in a Gentile territory. The first one was with Jesus and the two demoniacs. “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time? Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding. The demons pleaded with him, If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine, And he said to them, Go then!” (Mt. 8:29-32). The second incident was with Jesus and the people of the Gentile territory begging Him to leave their district for what had happened to their livestock (cf. Mt 8:34).

The Gospel invites us to look inwardly and reflect on the many times we have haggled, bargained and negotiated with God to grant our prayers based on our own terms and conditions. This kind of approach may have come in our lives when we were asking and begging for a promotion at work, for a passing mark in a qualifying examinations, applications for visa or employment, and the many things in life that we have plan to achieve according to our set standards. But, when the tide turns in the midst of challenging, trying and devastating times in our lives, outside our set parameters and expectations, the usual tendency for some of us is to give-up; “do it my way”, “whatever it takes”, and easily disengage as if God was never present in our lives. But, because of the unconditional love of God, He will continue to search and do everything to look for us even in the most difficult moments in our lives all because of His great love, mercy and compassion for all of us.

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