By Jim Orcutt, Co-Founder of My Brother's Keeper

These personal reflections on the Monday gospel represent my insight of Christ’s message as viewed through the lens of my life experience. It is my hope that others will be inspired to reflect upon their views as well.
Date: February 3, 2020
February 3, 2020

Gospel MK 5:1-20

Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat,
at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs,
and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains,
but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed,
and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides
he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.
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!”
(He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”)
He asked him, “What is your name?”
He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.”
And he pleaded earnestly with him
not to drive them away from that territory.
Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside.
And they pleaded with him,
“Send us into the swine. Let us enter them.”
And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine.
The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea,
where they were drowned.
The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town
and throughout the countryside.
And people came out to see what had happened.
As they approached Jesus,
they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion,
sitting there clothed and in his right mind.
And they were seized with fear.
Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened
to the possessed man and to the swine.
Then they began to beg him to leave their district.
As he was getting into the boat,
the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him.
But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead,
“Go home to your family and announce to them
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.

Reflection

Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea,
to the territory of the Gerasenes.
When he got out of the boat,
at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him.
The man had been dwelling among the tombs,
and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain.
In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains,
but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed,
and no one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides
he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones.

It may be difficult for us to relate to the “man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit – crying out and bruising himself with stones.” We seldom spend time thinking or talking about “unclean spirits.”

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!”

My greatest danger is in thinking that I am different than the man from the tombs. There are “unclean spirits” seeking to invade my soul as well. The seven deadly sins of pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, anger, and laziness are laying in wait to “torment” me.

(He had been saying to him, “Unclean spirit, come out of the man!”)
He asked him, “What is your name?”
He replied, “Legion is my name. There are many of us.”
And he pleaded earnestly with him
not to drive them away from that territory.

The first thing Jesus did was to ask the unclean spirit, “What is your name?” “Legion” stems from Latin and translates to 3000-6000. It may appear to be the voice of the man in the tombs who is answering Jesus, but in reality it is the voice of the unclean spirit who is speaking on behalf of the thousands of demons that possessed him.

When I am caught up or taken captive by my sins, then like the man from the tombs I may allow unclean spirits to speak for me. My thinking too may become twisted; confusion and disorientation are the tools of every “unclean spirit.”

If I hope to be set free from unclean spirits, then I must first take a “rigorously honest” look within myself and identify my unclean spirits by name.

Like the man from the tombs, I am not strong enough to expel sin by myself. I need to turn to my Lord, Jesus Christ. He is the Savior, the One, who will cast my demons “into the sea.”

“Go home to your family and announce to them
all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.”
Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis
what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.

I look into my past and am grateful for all the Lord has done for me. Please Lord, give me courage, that like the man from the tombs who had been set free, I may proclaim Your goodness and Your power to whoever I meet.

May those that hear be amazed and come to believe in You.

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”  Philippians 2: 10-11



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