Weekly Liturgy : June 13-19
Jesus Heals a Man with Demons
Luke 8:26-39 (Contemporary English Bible)
26-27 Jesus and his disciples sailed across Lake Galilee and came to shore near the town of Gerasa. As Jesus was getting out of the boat, he was met by a man from this town. The man had demons in him. He had gone naked for a long time and no longer lived in a house, but in the graveyard.
28-29 The man saw Jesus and screamed. He knelt down in front of him and shouted, “Jesus, Son of God Most High, what do you want with me? I beg you not to torture me!” He said this because Jesus had already told the evil spirit to go out of him.
The man had often been attacked by the demon. And even though he had been bound with chains and leg irons and kept under guard, he smashed whatever bound him. Then the demon would force him out into lonely places.
30-31 Jesus asked the man, “What is your name?”
He answered, “My name is Lots.” He said this because there were “lots” of demons in him. They begged Jesus not to send them to the deep pit, where they would be punished.
32-33 A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. So the demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and Jesus let them go. Then the demons left the man and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and drowned.
34-35 When the men taking care of the pigs saw this, they ran to spread the news in the town and on the farms. The people went out to see what had happened, and when they came to Jesus, they also found the man. The demons had gone out of him, and he was sitting there at the feet of Jesus. He had clothes on and was in his right mind. But the people were terrified.
36-39 Then all who had seen the man healed told about it. Everyone from around Gerasa begged Jesus to leave, because they were so frightened.
When Jesus got into the boat to start back, the man who had been healed begged to go with him. But Jesus sent him off and said, “Go back home and tell everyone how much God has done for you.” The man then went all over town, telling everything that Jesus had done for him.
The Gerasene demoniac is the classic scapegoat figure: an isolated Other, whose expulsion from society maintains a sense of peace and order for the community. The "Lots" are the internalized voices of his friends, family, and neighbors who identified him as the problem, and the self-inflicted violence is a mirror of the town's own forms of justice.
It is a total disruption to the system for the demons (crowd of accusers) to end up over the cliff side instead of the expelled. The cycle of violence has ended, and now the town has to reorient their value system and rethink who is in and who is out. A terrifying project!
But Jesus is gentle in his nudge toward inclusion, providing in the healed man a constant reminder of the alternative way of life. As James Alison puts it: Jesus did not come and give the Gerasenes a lecture on the structure of their society. He didn’t argue with them about definitions. He didn’t propose an alternative form of legislation. He did something much more three-dimensional. He empowered the demoniac to become a human being, sitting, clothed and in his right mind, going home to his friends.
Outward Mindset Application Learn something from each person you interact with today.
Pathways Toward Centeredness For this week, try to only make purchases at local shops/ vendors.
Questions for Consideration Who would you prefer to remain outside your corner of the world? Do you know anyone whose place in community would be strengthed if they had someone celebrating their humanity a bit?