Preparing Our Surroundings for Jesus

First Reading: 2 Sm 15:13-14, 30; 16:5-13
Psalm: Ps 3:2-3, 4-5, 6-7
Gospel: Mk 5:1-20

[This] gospel story is indeed a strange one, probably the strangest miracle story in the whole
bible. While the people usually reacted to Jesus’ powerful deeds
with wonder and admiration, here they got scared and asked Jesus to
leave their territory. Though Jesus victoriously freed the
possessed man, he had to leave the area so that he could not
proclaim the Good News.

In a way, the evil spirits had won a temporary victory over Jesus.
Although the evil spirits were defeated, they also made Jesus’
mission impossible in that region. But looking closer at the end of
the gospel, we read that the healed man wanted to follow Jesus but
Jesus did not allow him to do so. Jesus told the man to go and
share his experience. Jesus sent him as a missionary to proclaim
the Good News in Jesus’ name.

…From Church history we know that in this pagan area of the Ten Cities where this particular exorcism
took place, Christianity spread quite early. Obviously, Jesus’
short visit had created an atmosphere that was conducive to the
spreading of the Good News, despite the people’s initial shock and
fear. And this is where we come in.

Jesus has freed all of us from the power of evil when we were
baptized. Jesus has sent us to tell the people around us of all that
the Lord in his mercy has done for us. We are all sent to create an
atmosphere where the Good News can easily spread. Whatever we
think, do or say, it all affects our surroundings for good or for
evil. Our spiritual life radiates and the lack of spirituality makes
room for evil forces to take over.

We often allow ourselves to be influenced by [our] environment, by the
people around us instead of influencing them with the goodness, the
love and the kindness that God wants to share with others through
us. There is a saying; “The best way for evil to spread is for
good people not to do anything.”

The gospel and Church history teach that the opposite is also true.
The best way for goodness to spread is for good people to do
something….

As we reflect on the strange happenings in the land of the Gerasenes
let us realize that the man whom Jesus sent away healed is us.
Today, let us ask the Lord to guide and strengthen us to do the
same. As best we can, let us prepare our environment for Jesus’
Good News.

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