When he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs coming out of the tombs met him. They were so fierce that no one could pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
Now a large herd of swine was feeding at some distance from them. The demons begged him, “If you cast us out, send us into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go!” So they came out and entered the swine; and suddenly, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and perished in the water. The swineherds ran off, and on going into the town, they told the whole story about what had happened to the demoniacs.
Then the whole town came out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their neighborhood.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
A line in today’s first reading, (“…hate evil and love good, and establish justice at the gate” (Am 5: 15) reminded me of a sign I saw in front of a church once. It said “Love em’ all, I’ll sort it out later.” I think it serves as a healthy reminder of how God calls us to act as human beings. We should work to love everyone, to embrace everyone as a child of God, and gaze upon the world with eyes of mercy, not judgement. Judgement will come from God.
How, then, do we respond to evil? How do we respond to racism, systemic injustice, war, etc.? Jesus responded to it with love. Jesus loved everyone, whether they be rich or poor, man or woman, Gentile or Jew, you name it. I think that Jesus’ in today’s Gospel calls us to “drown” in love those who seek to do harm. My prayer today is that I may love more like Jesus: judging less, caring more for the marginalized, and letting God’s love manifest itself to others through me.
—Michael Petterson is a senior at the University of Michigan and is an active member of St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.
Lord Jesus, mold my heart to be more like yours, open and loving to all I encounter. Remind me that judgement is reserved for you alone, and that I am called to follow in your footsteps, treating others as brothers and sisters. In your name we pray. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer teamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!