Monday, October 15, 2012

Monday in Pentecost, Proper 23: The pigs are gone

Opening Sentence
I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord." Psalm 122:1

Morning Has Broken

Commemoration: Teresa of Avila
O God, who by your Holy Spirit moved Teresa of Avila to manifest to your Church the way of perfection: Grant us, we pray, to be nourished by her excellent teaching, and enkindle within us a keen and unquenchable longing for true holiness; through Jesus Christ, the joy of loving hearts, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalter: Psalm 1, 2, 3

Lessons: Micah 7:1-7, Acts 26:1-23, Luke 8:26-39

The reaction of the people to Jesus' healing of the Gerasene demoniac is all too typical. Rather than welcome Jesus with open arms, they insist that he leave. Why? For the very simple reason that the pigs are gone. When Jesus ordered the demons into the herd of pigs, the pigs "rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned." Apparently, the town relied on the pigs for commerce. Jesus might have been bad for business if he stayed around.

Jesus responds to the people's demand the way he always responds to faithlessness. He doesn't stay where he is not wanted. He will not force a stubborn people to accept him. He came to show them that they could be set free from whatever was keeping them in bondage. Their response was, "The pigs are gone." They were a people who could not accept the gracious offer of God in the flesh, at least not at this time.

Jesus departed, but he did not leave himself without a witness. The demoniac, now healed, wanted to go with him, but Jesus told him, "Return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you."

Often, Jesus instructed those he healed to keep quiet about it. In this case, however, he sent this Gentile back to his home with instructions to tell everyone about the healing and transforming power of God. The man did exactly that. With great enthusiasm, he spread the Good News. The town was not ready for Jesus when he arrived in person. The man he healed, however, would remain there as a witness to the fact that God had paid them a visit.

The Love of God