Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Living openly

When he came to the other side, to the territory of the Gadarenes, two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him. They were so savage that no one could travel by that road. They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?” Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.  The demons pleaded with him, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.” And he said to them, “Go then!” They came out and entered the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea where they drowned. Mt 8,28-32

We have met several possessed in the gospel. The ones of today give us the opportunity to add further considerations. The first consideration deals with the environment in which they live: among the tombs, in a place of death. The eternal battle for life or death has always been fought in the world, bitterly contested between the spirit of good and evil. On one hand, mothers who complete their pregnancies at the risk of their own life, on the other women who quietly go to have abortions; on the one hand spouses who forgive each other to save marriages which have become difficult, on the other, spouses who split and divorce at ease, creating problems to themselves, their children and society. The ones who choose the path of goodness live openly, those who choose evil, live in the shadow: marriages and births are celebrated publicly, abortions and drug pushing take place secretly. On  one side, light, life, joy and openness, on the other shadow, despair, lies and self-destruction, like the pigs of today’s Gospel, which, invaded by demons, go and dive into the sea until drowning. One never comes to these situations of extreme evil suddenly, but day after day, the same way one comes to holiness day by day, always falling and standing up. Today’s passage also points out that demons and saints cannot live together, they disturb each other, “What have you to do with us, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?” the two possessed ones cry out. There are environments in which clarity, honesty and holiness are a real nuisance, because they are environment dominated by evil choices. Those who want to attend them must live a life of lies, cheating, choices of death and more and more daring transgressions. There is a basic rule to evaluate both the environments and our existential choices: those who are for life act openly, those who are for death act – and can act – only in the shadows, in deceit and concealment.

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