Monday, February 4, 2019

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Today, in Mercy, our readings are all about God’s transforming power and our human ability to tap into that power by our faith.

Hebrews 11 references several heroes, named and unnamed, whose faith and perseverance were so great that, “The world was not worthy of them.”

Mark’s Gospel tells the story of the Gerasene demoniac, a story with many layers of meaning and challenge. In it, Jesus demonstrates an astounding power that both amazes and frightens his audience.

Mt5_10 pigsJPG

We have the very detailed description of the demoniac, a wild, unnaturally strong and violent man. We have the Gerasene community which doesn’t know what else to do to control the disruptive forces of this wretched man. And we have an innocent, unsuspecting herd of pigs.

Jesus is unafraid of the forces erupting from this troubled man. He approaches the man’s suffering on a whole different level from the unsuccessful tactics of the community.  Jesus speaks to the man’s soul which has been shattered into many howling fragments by the evil dwelling inside him. Jesus then casts out that evil in a demonstration that both awes and angers his observers.

Imagine how the pig farmers felt. Their livelihood lay drowning at the bottom of a precipice! The food supply, water integrity, employment opportunities all took a steep drop in that one moment of Christ’s command. In healing this broken man, who is representative of all suffering humanity, Jesus disrupted the comfortable systems which had allowed him to be isolated and chained at the edge of this society.

Jesus challenged this whole community to see the world from a different perspective – a spiritual one in which human life and wholeness is at the heart of all our societal systems. This man was more important than a herd of 2000 pigs!

These readings challenge us who live in a surface world “not worthy” of our faith. 

There is incredible suffering throughout this world. It is not enough to simply pray that it is alleviated. It is surely not enough to “chain” it by our indifference and acceptance.

Global suffering will be addressed only by confronting our comfortable systems (our herd of pigs). Our legal, political, economic and social systems must cherish the integrity of the human person. Otherwise, they should be challenged, changed, and maybe even cast away.

Our small part is to learn, understand, choose, vote and speak out for this kind of wholeness – both in our immediate, personal experiences as well as through the social justice structures available to us.  For example:

Sisters of Mercy Social Justice Advocacy

Network Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Music: Give Me Your Eyes ~ Brandon Heath

One thought on “What About the Pigs!

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