Jesus heals the howling and self-bruising demoniac, who was living among the tombs in the area the Gerasenes had settled, in Mark's Gospel today. Those poor swine, numbering 2000, get possessed by the legions within the individual and drown themselves after a wild rush down a steep bank leading to the sea. The townsfolk are perplexed, upset, afraid, and begged Jesus to leave. He complies, rejecting the healed individual's request to accompany him, instructing him, unusually for Mark, to go and proclaim the good news of God. The individual goes and proclaims the good news of Jesus.
Miracles and wondrous workings, and massive change to a society are things we read about in today's Gospel. Jesus up-ends a society's system; at the same time he saves an individual, not only from self-abuse, but from the abuse/mistreatment/neglect of the individual's own town-folk.
For what is this story a metaphor? What do we accept as "normal" behavior, and/or treatment, that we should not? What has our culture, in our rush for self-satisfaction, chosen to ignore, push aside, lock away? Who might be the demoniac, living on the outskirts of our awareness, needing healing, whose healing would up-end and forever change how we view and understand the world?
Good things to noodle on from this familiar story.
Copyright 2012, The Rev. John F. Dwyer, All Rights Reserved.
Photo: jfd's (lost) DC Garden, 2011.