Monday, February 1, 2016

Feb. 1, 2016 Monday: 4th Week in Ordinary Time C

Feb. 1, 2016 Monday: 4th Week in Ordinary Time C

Healing of Gerasene Demoniac

May I be forgiven or at least not declared crazy or sacrilegious that the most vivid images that come to me from this gospel incident is not Jesus or the possessed man but the PIGS! Oh, I am not all that crazy about pork (too much of it is bad for my health I am told). But struck me that the text says there were “about two thousand pigs” in the area. Two thousand! Can you imagine that, two thousand pigs all together at one time? Maybe the largest number of pigs I have seen together would be 20 – in a truck heading for the slaughterhouse. Two thousand pigs would mean 100 trucks each containing 20 pigs. Wow, what a “porka-cade.” But in the gospel story, there were, of course, no trucks. They were just there, all of them ambling around perhaps in search of food.

May no one of us ever be possessed by the devil or devils – 1000, 100, 10 or even just one. May that never happen indeed. But perhaps, if we may not have been possessed by the devil or devils, might we not have been possessed by 2000 SINS? Maybe not at the same time, but cumulatively as it were, since we committed our first sin? If even the just fall at least 7 times a day, what about us, unjust men/women, how many more times do we fall through our nights and days? Seen from this perspective, if it is hard to picture 2000 pigs, it should not be as hard to accept that maybe, just maybe, we may have committed 2000 sins.

But perhaps the saving factor of this rather bizarre imagining is the happy truth that just as Jesus cast out at one time 2000 devils from the possessed man in the gospel, He does the same to you and me. When we are sorry for our sins and confess them, Jesus forgives us, no matter how many or big or black they may be. Every sin is wiped out, lost in eternal oblivion. They no go anywhere – not even to pigs.

Se next time we have lechon, may we just enjoy it, calorie-count notwithstanding. But we may not forget to thank the Lord for His graciousness, His forgiveness and His love, and do as the man in the gospel was asked to do: announce to all what the Lord in His mercy has done for us.

(Fr. Roderick Salazar, SVD Bible Diary 2006)