Monday, January 31, 2011

Memorial of Saint John Bosco, priest

(Hebrews 11:32-40; Mark 5:1-20)

Wild boars create problems. Farmers say that they destroy crops. They also threaten people. And they are not as edible as their name suggests. In the gospel when the demons possessing the man in the territory of the Gerasenes ask Jesus to send them into a herd of swine, they no doubt have nothing but mischief in mind. But they are not in control of the situation. Jesus is, and plotting the demise of the demons, he dispatches them into the pigs as requested. Immediately the swine hurl themselves into the sea thus returning the evil spirits to the watery abyss from which they are thought to originate.

Once again Jesus demonstrates that he is the rock on whom we can count in trials. Here he reveals himself in charge of foreign territories as well as where we usually encounter him. He will save us wherever we are and from whatever fury breaks upon us. In Left to Tell Immaculée Ilibagiza tells the story of how Jesus protected her during the Rwandan genocide.

“But does appealing to Jesus always achieve the desired end?” we ask quite honestly and realistically. Christian wisdom suggests a somewhat unnerving answer. By faith we know him as the gracious Lord of the universe. His desires are always honored, but those desires may not be exactly ours. As we pray, “Deliver us from evil,” we must remember that we have already resigned ourselves to his discretion by having said, “Thy will be done.”