Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
(II Samuel 15:13-14.30.16:5-13; Mark 5:1-20)
Police departments are informing people on what to do if an “active shooter” enters their premises. Such incidents have become so common that public education is now deemed necessary. Confronting the villain is considered a last resort. First people are advised to flee. In today’s gospel Jesus does not choose the preferred option when confronted by the mad man.
The man must be terribly frightening. The passage describes him as incapable of being held back even by chains. Yet Jesus does not even flinch when the man comes into his midst. Rather he cool-headedly seizes the initiative. He tells the demons possessing the man to depart. Then he manipulates them to surrender authority by revealing their names. After he has them completely in his power, Jesus sends the demons into a swineherd.
Sometimes Jesus is pictured as a weak sort. But in this story, he shows himself quite forceful. There is no testimony in the gospels indicating that Jesus looked like a body builder, but this episode attests to his bravery. The point is that we can count on him. He will help us in every situation when we call on him.