The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Fred Saniel, SVD (Divine WORD Mission Institute, Tagaytay City)
Monday 4th Week in Ordinary Time
The encounter between Jesus, who embodies the Reign of God, and a man possessed by a legion of devils, illustrates the redeeming power of God over evil.
Legion implies the many faces of evil that persist in human life. It symbolizes the power of evil that could not be restrained by human beings that, as a whole, destroys the dignity of human life amidst a culture of death symbolized as dwelling in the tombs.
Powerfully strong, it is a picture of slavery to sin that pushes the human being to the precipice of damnation.
A key to the redeeming power of God in Jesus is the power of faith that eventually drove out evil. Possessed by a legion of evil spirits, the man managed to run up to Jesus and prostrated himself before him. The man’s faith dragged the evil within him in the presence of Jesus, and evil trembled before the words of Jesus as it recognized the mighty power of the Word of God and acknowledged Jesus as the Son of the Most High.
The evil spirits begged Jesus not to drive them away as they pleaded to be sent and enter into the swine. This episode tells us that a relationship of faith with Jesus is a way of spiritual empowerment against temptations and evils. It becomes a faith experience that can be shared with others and, thence, proclaim the mighty works of Jesus.
In contrast, the lack of faith prevents Jesus from doing his wonders. The people of the district were more concerned about the loss of their pigs! Instead of giving attention and appreciation to the wondrous healing of the possessed man, they begged Jesus to leave their place. Without faith in Jesus, they canceled out the many blessings that they can receive from Jesus in place of their pigs.