When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes,
two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.
They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.
They cried out,
What have you to do with us, Son of God?
Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?
Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.
The demons pleaded with him,
If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.
And he said to them,
They came out and entered the swine,
and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea
where they drowned.
The swineherds ran away,
and when they came to the town they reported everything,
including what had happened to the demoniacs.
Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus,
and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.
— Matthew 8:28-34
The peace of the Lord be with you. Can you believe it? July first already. More than a half a year has passed, and here in the United States we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, a time we celebrate freedom.
The reading from Matthew today shows us what happens to our freedom when we become filled with evil. The savagery of evil pushes life and light away leading to isolation. Evil leads to a sense doom and persecution. Evil begets evil and this ultimately leads to the destruction, rather than the preservation, of life. It is interesting that Jesus does not condemn the demoniacs — he does not send them to their death, rather they choose it for themselves.
Let us treasure our freedom, allow God’s grace to inform our choices so we may always be vessels of His light and life. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.