Homily for November 11, 2012
What do You Want with Me Jesus?
23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
6th Sunday of Luke
Virgin Martyr Anastasia of Rome
After Jesus calmed the storm on the sea, He and those with Him proceeded to the country of the Gergesenes. Upon disembarking from the boat, we are told that a man possessed by demons saw Jesus and approached Him and cried out with a loud voice: "What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg You, do not torment me!" How many times in our life do we ask this same question? It's not easy for many of us to deal with God when we encounter Him, especially when our lives are not perfect. Maybe we are homeless; maybe mentally or emotionally afflicted; maybe unemployed and having trouble making ends meet; or maybe dealing with a terminal or debilitating illness. Whatever the reason, we may not want to deal with God when He steps into our lives at what we think is the most inopportune time. Like the man possessed with demons, we ask "Want do You want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, do not torment me!" Jesus Christ and His power frightens many people. Even those of us who believe in Him are sometimes frightened by what He can do for us, if we let Him.
Jesus's healing of the demoniac frightened those who had witnessed or heard of the miracle. It scared them so much that they asked Jesus to leave their community. They just could not deal with it or understand. It happened all to quickly. Something really new, something beyond their expectaitons happened and they were not ready for it. So, in fear, they asked the Lord to leave because in their hearts they could not comprehend what happened not were they ready to receive what Jesus brought to them and or what He could do for their lives.
God never imposes Himself into our lives nor does He force Himself on us. When the people of the Gergensenes asked Jesus to leave, that is exactly what He did...He simply and quietly returned to the boat and left. In this simple act, Jesus shows the character of God. God is gentle and patient. He listens to us even when we don't know what we are talking about or asking. God does not coerce anything or anyone.
Even though Jesus acceded to the wishes of the people, the results of His presence were left behind in the man who was freed of the demons. Having been cured, the man pleaded with the Lord to take him with Him. The man knew who Jesus truly was and wanted to be with Him. But the Lord instructs him rather to return to his home and declare how much God had done for him.
Jesus knew that sending the man back into the midst of his community would produce much better results than letting the man accompany Him. After all, the demonic was a new man; his mind was now clean and clear. Because of his encounter with Christ, he can enjoy the peaceful presence of God in his mind and heart. He can now live a life that is productive and which may glorify God in so many ways. He can now think, choose, and create being inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Jesus knew that by sending the man back into his community, he may be able to transform his community. Of course, in the beginning, he will shock people by simply walking around the town, being dressed and having peace of mind. Then, eventually, his presence will speak aloud about God's goodness. By his very presence, renewed and made whole by the power of God, he will be able to teach others about the spiritual power of Jesus Christ.
So, Jesus says to the man, "Return to your home and tell everyone there about how much God has done for you." Truly, the man has a story to tell, and he wants to tell it. He needs to tell a story of healing. He needs to tell his story of being freed from his unhappiness and suffering. He needs to tell of the greatness and reality of God and how Jesus turned his misfortune into God's victory. By telling his story, he proclaims the power and authority of Jesus Christ. He now becomes a disciple of the Lord and commits himself to making other disciples of Christ by his witness.
Telling the story of what happened to him will produce something good. Telling the story will make him feel more connected with Jesus. Telling the story, he will know that Jesus is still with him.
When we are at the lowest point of our lives, it is then that Christ makes His presence most felt. But, we have to recognize Him and accept what He offers us with open and willing hearts and minds. If we do that, God will free us from all that troubles and afflicts us. Then will we know the peace that only God can give, a true and lasting peace which frees us from all unhappiness, sorrow and suffering.