The Gerasenes in today’s Gospel had tried to resolve the issue of the possessed man in the tombs for a long time. They couldn’t subdue him, they couldn’t chain him up, they couldn’t silence him or even get near him. It’s not clear whether they could hear him crying out from their homes, but he was frequently in their thoughts as something beyond their comprehension and beyond their control. If swine herders lived nearby they were probably not Jewish, and had no idea of God, just the confused religion of many mysterious and fickle powers at play.
Then Our Lord comes into their life. The crazy man in the tombs is dressed and in his right mind, and evil spirits have driven a whole herd of swine into the water. After hearing testimony to the events they responded out of superstition, not faith. If Our Lord could do all this, he was to be feared even more. They didn’t want the unexplainable explained, they just wanted him gone and the unexplainable forgotten. The grace of God came and passed them by, but the Decapolis did hear, from the lips of the formerly possessed man himself, what the Lord had done for him.
We pride ourselves on being educated and knowing how the world works. Yet we can’t ignore that some times things happen that just don’t fit into our heads. Who do we turn to in those moments? Make them moments of faith and not moments of superstition. Our Lord reveals himself in those moments if we don’t shut him out.
Readings: 2 Samuel 15:13–14, 30, 16:5–13; Psalm 3:2–7; Mark 5:1–20. See also 13th Week in Ordinary Time, Wednesday.