Saturday, November 21, 2009


When Jesus cast the demons into the herd of swine and they plunged over a cliff and drowned, the Gadarenes were neither joyful nor astonished at this manifestation of God's power, but rather they were afraid, and they begged our Lord to depart from their region. Like many people today, they preferred God a safe distance away, not actively involved in their affairs. As the English saying goes, "God is in His heaven, and all's well on earth."

Like the Pharisees, the Gadarenes preferred the status quo, business as usual. They had no desire to "cast out into the deep" and perchance risk a first hand encounter with God. They were like the Grand Inquisitor of Dostoyevsky's tale, who demanded to know why Christ had to return to earth: the Church, after all, was doing perfectly well without Him.

Truly, "Our God is a consuming fire," and "It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God." To be sure, God is love. Thus, St. Paul shows us "a more excellent way." For even the greatest of spiritual gifts will eventually pass away, while of all things love alone is eternal. Indeed, apart from love, nothing we accomplish in the spiritual live has any value.

Nevertheless, God's love is a two edged sword: for the demons and sinners, it is a tormenting fire, while for the righteous, it is illumination and heavenly joy. The wicked fear God because His light reveals their works of darkness and brings down judgment upon their superficial, worldly and self-centered lives.

The truth is, Christ came to cast fire upon the earth; not to bring peace, but to initiate the final war between the forces of darkness and light. The question is, when push comes to shove, what side are we on? It is impossible to hide from God or to straddle the fence. If we are not for Him, then it stands to reason we are against him.

For truly, the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand! And only those who sincerely repent, turning from the darkness of this world to the light of the living God, will be saved. Moreover, the sign of this Kingdom is the gift of healing given to His disciples--especially to the Holy Unmercenaries--the power to cast out demons and to cure every manner of disease.

For Christ did not come to condemn the world, but "to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."

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