32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets– 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated– 38 of whom the world was not worthy– wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
1 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2 And when he had come out of the boat, there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 who lived among the tombs; and no one could bind him any more, even with a chain; 4 for he had often been bound with fetters and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the fetters he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out, and bruising himself with stones. 6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him; 7 and crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8 For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” 10 And he begged him eagerly not to send them out of the country. 11 Now a great herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; 12 and they begged him, “Send us to the swine, let us enter them.” 13 So he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea. 14 The herdsmen fled, and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15 And they came to Jesus, and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. 16 And those who had seen it told what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine. 17 And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighborhood. 18 And as he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 But he refused, and said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and all men marveled.
LETTER TO THE HEBREWS: Recount the OT heroes who kept the faith: Gideon defeated Midianites;Deborah the prophetess guided Barak to victory over the Canaanites;Samson fought the Philistines single handedly;Jepthah defeated the Ammonites;David united the tribe of israel and ruled for forty years and Samuel was the last judge before the kingdom came under the rule of Saul.
These stories remind us of the gift of faith of these men and women who in the face of evil remained committed to the cause of heeding God’s commandments. Verse thirty-five refers to the prophets Elisha and Elijah who raised the dead. 2Ki 13:21 The summary of this reflection by the author endeavors to express a testament of the faith of the people of God who did not allow fear to derail their hope and trust in a living God who has “something better” that shall perfect His children.
St MARK narrates the episode at Gerasenes of a man with “an evil spirit” who was afflicted with so many disorders whom no one could contain nevermind heal. Strikingly this afflicted demon possessed man who lived among the dead in a cemetery instantly recognized the divinity of Jesus as soon as He had set his foot ashore.
Unlike the afflicted man in the synagogue (Mk 1:23-24) who “knew” who Jesus was and insinuated that Jesus was a destroyer of life, this man considered himself unworthy that Jesus should come to him! This scene of the troubled man’s appeal for mercy with the words:”What have you to do with me” brings to mind the Eucharistic Celebration and the penitential act; our prayer ‘kyrie eleison’ (Have mercy on me); our veneration of Jesus on bended knee and our proclamation of unworthiness to receive our Lord!
The comparison of the two responses by demon possessed men, images who we can be at the worst of times in our lives! Being in the presence of Christ in the Eucharist can either have a response of the denial of our sinful disordered life by unworthily receiving Christ without repentance in confession-which is to profane the Lord- or it can be a submissive act of the will to seek the confessional and repent in humility as did the afflicted man who was healed for a better life!
LET US PRAY:Psalms 31:20-24
20 In the covert of thy presence thou hidest them from the plots of men; thou holdest them safe under thy shelter from the strife of tongues. 21 Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was beset as in a besieged city. 22 I had said in my alarm, “I am driven far from thy sight.” But thou didst hear my supplications, when I cried to thee for help. 23 Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but abundantly requires him who acts haughtily. 24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!
Catholic Witness Apostolate firstname.lastname@example.org Henry R SYLVESTER
Note: The daily scripture readings are taken from the Roman Missal which the Catholic Church use in the daily Celebration of the Holy Eucharist throughout the world.Some weekly readings may differ because of the celebration of local feast days of saints around the world.