UPON THOSE IN THE TOMBS BESTOWING LIFE
(Sunday, July 9)
“When He had come to the other side, to the country of the Gergesenes, there met Him two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce, so that no one could pass that way.” (Mt 8:28)
St. Mark and St. Luke speak of only one, and not two, demon-possessed in this incident, which ends with the demons entering a herd of swine that promptly drowns itself in the sea.
Be that as it may, what we learn from this incident is that the human beings, thus possessed, still retained enough of a will to live, so as not to drown themselves in the sea. They also had enough of a will to live to come out of “the tombs” and meet Jesus, despite the torment this meeting caused the demons, who cried out to the Lord, “What have we to do with You? Have You come here to torment us before the time?” The demons wanted to be left alone, to do what they had been doing with the human beings that they were able to drive into self-isolation and certain other forms of self-harm, but not to suicide.
When our Lord liberates the demon-possessed from this misery, allowing the demons to go where they will, into a herd of swine that drowns itself, He reveals to everyone the will to live, which the previously demon-possessed had retained all along. Bestowing life “upon those in the tombs,” He reminds all of us that we can and should come out and meet Him, if we ever find ourselves “in the tombs” of self-isolation or self-harm of some sort. I am not saying this is demonic possession, because I am not knowledgeable about such things, but I do know that we can become harmful to ourselves and others through various afflictions like addictions, obsessions, or other unhealthy thought-patterns. And we might self-isolate as a result. This Sunday let us come out and meet Him, Who has the power to restore us to sanity. “I shall not die, but live, and proclaim the works of the Lord!”