St. John Bosco, Priest
II Samuel 15:13-14,30;16:5-13 + Mark 5:1-20
January 31, 2022
… they began to beg [Jesus] to leave their district.
Demonic possession is an extremely serious matter. While some today dismiss it, suggesting that all reported cases of possession are in fact psychological disorders, the Church takes today’s Gospel passage at its word.
One striking point in this narrative is the reaction of people to the swineherds’ report: “they began to beg [Jesus] to leave their district.” Why do the people react this way? One might expect the people to express gratitude to Jesus, and invite Him to stay as their protector.
Perhaps the people were in shock, never before imagining that demons might dwell among them. However, demonic possession in the Holy Land was not uncommon in Jesus’ day. Perhaps the reaction of the people reflects what we see in modern Western culture. We know that evil exists, but we tend to think of it existing only “out there”.
When evil shows itself plainly in our own towns, our own homes, and our own lives, we express disbelief at how such violence could possibly happen “here”. The sad truth is that sin, violence and death is everywhere, and in every human life. After all, if it could exist in the earthly lives of Our Lord and Our Blessed Mother, why should we think of ourselves—who are sinners—as exempt from its power? While each of us needs to practice prudence to deter suffering, we should have no illusions of escaping it. In the midst of such illusions, Christ has no place.