Something going on in this reading doesn’t make sense…or does it? A man is possessed by a ‘Legion’ of demons. He is chained, naked and living in the tombs of a cemetery. When Jesus casts out the demons, the man is clothed and in his right mind. The Legion of demons possess a nearby herd of pigs who run off a steep bank to drown in the water below. The local folk are angry and want Jesus to leave. Why? Why would they be so anti-healing?
Were the people angry about the financial losses from the drowned pigs? Nope. They didn’t even ask Jesus for some form of repayment.
Why couldn’t they celebrate the man’s good fortune of no longer being chained and naked? Why couldn’t they be happy for the man now rid of the demons and in his right mind? Why the anger? Jesus took away their scapegoat. As long as they could use the man as the focus of the unclean for their community, life in denial was good. Jesus took that focus away and now they would be like the pigs running head long to their own destruction.
Think about all the people we call evil. Think of all the people we put as the focus of what is unclean. The list is endless: immigrants, liberals, conservatives, Iran, the poor, the rich, etc. When one is removed from the list, another is simply plugged in. Unfortunately we also keep Christ at a distance and stay in the old ways that get in the way of healing.
Christ is our healing. He is the healing of the nations. His power is above the ‘Legion’ which was what a Roman 6000 unit of soldiers was called. He casts out the demonic that keeps us all in chains. He brings sanity to our culture.
So when it comes to Jesus what is our response? Will it be anger? Will it be courage to seek his healing? Will it be a continuation of seeing our uncleanness focused upon another and another and another? Will it be healing for our community, nation and world leaving us clothed and in our right minds as children of God?