Wednesday, July 5, 2017

NOTE: I have been posting reflections for ten years and have considered discontinuing the effort. 
However, it may be advantageous for me and perhaps helpful to you if I keep up the work.  You may notice that I will often be publishing reworked homilies like the following. 

Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

(Amos 5:14-15.21-24; Matthew 8:28-34)

In The Good Earth, Pearl Buck’s classic portrayal of pre-revolutionary China, the protagonist has a brief encounter with Christianity.  Having gone to the city to escape the famine that consumed the countryside, Wang Lung is handed a picture of the crucified Christ.  He is fascinated by the image but has no time to inquire into who the crucified one is.  Struggling to eek out a living for his family, Want Lung is impelled to continue working.

The people of Gadarene town on the outskirts of which Jesus casts out demons in today’s gospel seem little different from that of the Chinese peasant.  Charged by Jesus to leave two wild men, the demons possess a herd of pigs whom they send hurling into the sea.  The people might be expected to welcome Jesus for saving two men from a fate worse than Alzheimer’s.  But being practical, they weigh their loss of property as greater than the benefit of having two men restored to their senses.  Rather than thanking Jesus, they ask him to leave before he causes them more trouble. 

It is as easy for us to get so caught up with business – even Church business – that we ignore what Jesus has to offer us.  It requires patience to meditate on his words in our world of a ten thousand distractions.  We can also be sure his message will demand some sacrifice on our part.  But there is an upside to opening our minds and hearts to Jesus.  He brings us the same tranquility of spirit which the former wild men of the Gadarene territory now possess.