Chains

Yesterday’s gospel was the Markan story of Jesus and man possessed of a legion of evil spirits. It was accompanied by the story of King David being the target of curses and stones by one of King Saul’s family members.  One of David’s royal guard “said to the king: “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, please, and lop off his head.” But the king replied: “What business is it of mine or of yours…that he curses? Suppose the LORD has told him to curse David; who then will dare to say, ‘Why are you doing this?’ …Let him alone and let him curse, for the LORD has told him to.” (2 Sam 16:9-11)

For sure, the Gospel account is part of Mark’s narrative revealing the divine powers of Jesus – this time over the legions of evil spirit that possess the man – spirits that could not be chained or subdued. But it seems to me that the possessed man is likely the one that the local folks blame for all ills that befall them. He becomes their scapegoat, the one upon they heap all their assumptions and preconceived ideas, further chaining the man even after the real chains were broken. Allow them to dismiss the man.

Perhaps the relative of King Saul and the Gerasene demoniac play the same part in their own narratives: the one who in their imperfection reminds us that we are not without our own flaws, with our own evil spirits possessing a part of our lives – if not “legion.” And what if the people in our own lives, the ones who may not curse or throw stones, but the one who criticize…what if the are the word of God sent into our lives?

We can lop their heads off (albeit in a more discrete and modern way), we can chain them with our preconceived ideas, we can ignore them altogether, or we can let them be and reflect on what is being said behind the curses and stones. The Word of God comes as it wills.

Just a thought.

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