Father Rodney Torbic

October 30 / November 12, 2017

The Twenty-Third Sunday after Pentecost

Lk. 8:26-39

And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee. And when He went forth to land, there met Him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before Him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with Thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech Thee, torment me not. (For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.) And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him. And they besought Him that he would not command them to go out into the deep. And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that He would suffer them to enter into them. And He suffered them. Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked. When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country. Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid. They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed. Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought Him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and He went up into the ship, and returned back again. Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought Him that he might be with Him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him. (KJV)

The Gospel is continuing nourishment for the Christian throughout life. The Gospel sustains the Christian in unison with having received the Precious Body and Blood of Christ.

Individuals seeking to nourish the soul often turn to the Gospel. Christ is the source of nourishment and Christ is experienced in the Gospel. The present Gospel directs the believerís attention to the country of the Gadarenes.

Believers hearing the present Gospel are located throughout the world and may or may not be familiar with the specific location mentioned. The believer is challenged to determine the precise meaning of the Gospel message.

The Church puts the Gospel into a particular context to make the Gospel understandable and meaningful to each believer. The believer is required to put forth a certain amount of effort.

Each believer is at a different level of Christian development. Believers have different needs and problems. The circumstances of each person influence the understanding of the Gospel.

Jesus was met with the demon-possessed man. The manís appearance was affected by his condition. Certainly this was a moment of drama. Christ personifies all that is pure and good. Christ personifies perfection.

A man possessed with demons is far from being a symbol of purity. The manís condition was radically different from the understanding of peace associated with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The way Jesus related to the demon-possessed man would be defining for subsequent generations. People of each generation afflicted with demons or having family members or friends tormented by demons find hope in this Gospel.

How many families and individuals turn to Christ in prayer seeking help with demon-possessed family members? How many employees and patients on psychiatric wards have heard people crying out in anguish to Christ for healing?

How many courtrooms have been locations for testimony describing tormented individuals in need of care and healing? The present Gospel message has a contemporary application that is far-reaching.

Demon-possessed individuals live in many different places. The Church is a place for the demon-possessed to turn for healing. The man fell down before Jesus. This was not a man too proud to fall down before Jesus.

The man recognized and acknowledged Jesus as Son of the Most High God. How many informed contemporary believers fall down before Christ as the Son of the Most High God? How often does pride stand in the way of Christian growth?

Personal demons can take different forms and have varying influences on a person. In each generation many families have to contend with members severely influenced by demons.

Disturbed individuals create havoc and destroy peace and stability in the home. Except in the rarest of instances, families no longer keep demon-possessed members locked in a back room.

Not all family members or individuals turn to Christ for help in battling demons. In the present Gospel, Jesus commanded the demon to depart the man. Jesus invoked His authority in the present circumstances.

Jesus was determined to make a difference. The unclean spirit caused the person to behave in ways that were erratic and associated with force. Chains and shackles gave way to the driving force that was tormenting the man.

This man had no easily remedied condition. Individuals working in helping professions know too well that changing entrenched destructive behavior is a real challenge.

Individuals familiar with patients in psychiatric settings or mentally ill inmates of correctional institutions have witnessed behaviors that are demon driven. The manís condition was complex.

The man was healed and wanted to remain with Jesus. Individuals experiencing the healing power of Christ are attracted to Christ and do not want to be separated from Him. Experiencing Christ is transforming and consuming.

This man was a ďnew manĒ in Christ. He was no longer in torment. He was in peace. He cherished the peace and cherished Christ for having provided the peace. The man did not want to let go of Christ, the Source of healing.

Fr. Rodney Torbic

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