Monday, January 30, 2017

What Have You to Do with Me, Jesus?

The world was not worthy of them. They wandered about in deserts and on mountains, in caves and in crevices in the earth.  Yet all these, though approved because of their faith, did not receive what had been promised. God had foreseen something better for us so that without us they should not be made perfect.  Hebrews 11:38-40

Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and prostrated himself before him, crying out in a loud voice, "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!" Mark 5:6-7

What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?

What indeed does Jesus have to do with the man possessed?  We have already seen Jesus calm the turbulent seas, cure the man with the withered hand, fight off the Pharisees and his family. Yet the passions around Jesus do not seem to lessen. As we enter Mark 5, we will encounter three people – each one held captive by differing forces.  The first is the man in the tombs controlled by demons. 

After having just weathered the terrible storm at sea, Jesus and the disciples disembark in pagan territory only to be immediately confronted by the tormented man and his demons, ironically named Legion.  (Legion is a Roman term describing a fighting force of two to six thousand men.  Perhaps the demon is implying that if Jesus wants to engage in a fight on this day, he is outnumbered.)

The man was an outcast from society, dominated by unclean spirits, living among the tombs. The prostration before Jesus indicates Jesus’ power over evil spirits and authority over all on earth.  In no time, the demons are banished into the nearby pigs who plunge off a cliff into the sea.  We are left with a man who is completely within his senses and ready to follow Jesus.  Instead, Jesus tells the man to stay behind and tell others what has happened. “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”

After all this, Jesus calmly gets back into his boat, leaving the man and the amazed witnesses behind.

What have you to do with me, Jesus? Whatever we are to do, we must first be called by Jesus and respond to his call. What call will you hear today?  How will you answer it?  How will you, like the man who used to be possessed by demons, spread the Good News?

“Ordinary time?”  Indeed!

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