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The Value of the Salvation of One Person
Wednesday of the Thirteenth Week in Ordinary Time
When he came to the other side, 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, “Go then!” 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.
Opening Prayer: My Jesus, I so often find myself divided, giving more importance to things of this world than to the salvation of others or even the good of my own soul. Open my eyes and heart to love holiness and the salvation of souls as much as you do.
- Sin Torments: “Two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.” Here were two people, tormented and in bondage, courtesy of the devil. Their condition was serious, if not fatal, but isn’t this our reality anytime we allow sin into our life? When a soul drifts from God it grows distant, cold to God, and can even become aggressive out of fear or hatred. In their exchange with Jesus, the souls in this passage did all of the talking out of extreme agitation. Jesus simply looked at them unafraid and in control. Jesus is always loving, patient, and attentive to our pleadings, and showers his mercy upon us when we desire to be freed from the bondage of sin.
- Jesus Spoke: “Go then!” Jesus hadn’t spoken a word until now but the demoniacs knew he would expel them at some point because perfect good always prevails over evil. Jesus didn’t want them to be slaves to sin, nor does he want this for us. Jesus wants us to be free to truly follow him and love what is good, true, and beautiful as he created it. It’s our responsibility to surrender to God, confess, and make reparation whenever we realize we’ve given into sin.
- They Banished Jesus: “They begged him to leave their district.” People sometimes don’t want the good of others, especially if it requires sacrificing their own comfort or security. The people in this district weren’t happy for the demoniacs who had been cured. Rather they were afraid and concerned with the revenue they lost when Jesus cast the devils into their swine. We should beware of growing tepid in our faith and distant from Jesus lest we lose a sense of the seriousness of sin and its consequences. Conversion of a sinner is the ultimate good and always a cause for celebration.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, help me to never grow accustomed to sin in my life but to seek you with a sincere heart so that no taint of sin may mark my soul. Make me a more passionate lover of the salvation of souls so that I may call people to freedom from sin by your grace.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will be open to talking to someone about the gift of salvation in Christ.
For Further Reflection: Interior Freedom,” by Fr Jacques Philippe
Father Todd Arsenault is from Prince Edward Island, Canada, and is a priest with the Legionaries of Christ. He spent fourteen years doing ministry in the greater Toronto area as a chaplain for Regnum Christi and couple’s groups, spiritual director, and retreat master. He is currently on a two-year sabbatical in Rome, studying for a licentiate in Spiritual Theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum.
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