Monday, February 4, 2019

Evil Forces that Only Jesus Can Overpower

In today's Gospel, Mark 5: 1-20, Jesus and his disciples enter the territory of the Gerasenes. As soon as they got out of the boat, a demoniac approaches Jesus. "The man," Mark tells us, "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." When Jesus asked the evil spirit its name and commanded that it come out of the man, the evil spirit answered: "'Legion is my name. There are  many of us.'  And he pleaded earnestly with him  not to drive them away from that territory....Send us into the swine... And he let them. ...[T]he unclean spirits came out of the man and entered the swine. The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea, where they were drowned."

Within the world, within every species, within all of creation, including human beings, exist evil spirit and good spirits--forces that thwart or promote life, that encourage or discourage creative expressions and creative growth or that propel or block  us from achieving the potential and the perfection we are meant to achieve here on earth. Jesus had power over all that is evil in His day and in ours, in men and women in His day and in ours.  Jesus will bring out the good in us and destroy the  evil within us, just as he did for the demoniac.

Like the story in today's Gospel, we witness people who seem to be as out of control as the demonic.  Even nature seems out of control! Have Legions of evil spirits taken charge, as they did in the man who approached Jesus in today's Gospel? Only Jesus could help him; no human being was up to the task. Perhaps, today, we are in the same "boat," that is, that only Jesus can bring order into the chaos that exist all around us: in municipal, federal, ecclesiastical, familial  and world governing structures;  in our educational, healthcare, pharmaceutical,  financial systems and, yes, even the environment.

Like Jesus, you and I are created to do good and to face evil in this world, with God at our side. We are created to grow in the knowledge of God's creative powers at the very core of our being and the being of others and within all of creation.  God reveals His creative on-going, unconditional love for each of us in all that is.  That love for us is revealed in the animals and plants that share life with us here on earth, in the planetary and solar systems that, as part of God's plan,  sustain us here on earth. All of creation is interdependent for living life to the fall. Good as well as evil in any part of the world and in any part of creation impacts us. If evil takes possession of any part of creation--other human beings, ourselves, the animal or plant kingdom among us--that evil has an impact on all that exists, as did the presence of the demoniac in the Garasene territory at the time of Jesus.

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