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Wednesday, July 5, 2006
Today's Gospel: July 5, 2006
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July 5, 2006
Wednesday in the Thirteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

I have always felt that the part of the Gospel read at Mass today can be a little hard to understand. So, I wanted to post about it along with some things my priest said today in his homily.

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, “Go then!” They came out and entered the swine, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the seawhere 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)

Through today's reading we realize that God allows the existence of devils because He uses them to bring about our holiness. Jesus Christ appeared to St. Catherine of Siena once and revealed to her this precise point. And, we see this through the Gospel today. First and foremost, Jesus Christ came to destroy sin, satan, and death. And, in today's Gospel reading we see how closely they are all related. First, where were the demoniacs at before they came to Jesus? They were in the tomb. Demons want to be around the dead because they are dead interiorly. Remember that when the devil fell from Heaven (Luke 10:18), nearly a third of the angels fell with him because they claimed to be equal to God. But, God did not destroy them and He never will. God is the God of the living. He never shall destroy a life. Some Christians claim that at the end of the world God will destroy the devil and Hell. The truth is that hell lasts forever just as Heaven is eternal.

But, what is truly astonishing in the Gospel is that these demons cry out: “What have you to do with us, Son of God?" The world did not know Jesus but these demons did! While the world crucified its Creator, they did not know what they were doing (Lk 23:34). But, the foulest demons of the world knew who He was, and they acknowledged Him. But, did that save them? NO. As St. James writes, "You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble" (James 2:19). We must do more than just believe in Jesus and say "I accept you, Lord". We must follow Him. We must bear Our Cross and follow after Our Lord and be the very holiest person that we can become (Mt 16:24). That is the way to Heaven - to follow after Our Lord. Beliving and not doing anything is not enough. We must believe and follow Him.

Through the reading we also see the power of Jesus over the demons. The demons can do nothing by their own power - they are part of creation and subject to the Lord. And, they ask to go into the swine. And, why is that important? We must remember that during this time the people of God were still in the Old Covenant; pork was unclean. Why? Because God had forbid it just like He forbid the apple in the Garden of Eden. And the swineherders were raising these pigs for consumption against the Commandments of God. So, Jesus Christ destroyed the pigs and drove away the demons. He freed the two men that were controlled by the demons, and now the town could go down that road. He used the demons to bring about holiness.

But, what did the town do - "they begged him to leave their district." Jesus Christ, the King of the Universe, even after working this miracle, was asked to leave. And, so many of the people in our world say to Him: "Jesus, leave me know." Whether it's by what we say, watch on television, do with our friends, etc. We constantly tell Our Creator to just leave us alone. This is one of the saddest parts of the Gospel. The people of the town did not know Him. I ask you, do you know Him? And, more importantly, do you follow Him and carry your Cross?

Remember Our Lord's words: "So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect" (Mt 5:48). He asked us to be perfect, and we can be perfect only through Him.

Image Source: Jesus Returning the Keys to St. Peter by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1820

6 comments:

del_button July 5, 2006 at 2:38 PM
horicon said...

Hi moneybags,

How is your summer going? It looks like you have been very busy. Anyway I have been very busy as well, but still from time to time come and visit your site. I daily visit the Ewtn Website and browse through the previously asked questions, and have even asked a few of my own.
Had we not resolved the seemingly contradictory passages in Ephesians 2, and James 2?
It is obvious that if we do not follow God, then we do not have any faith to start out with. Our salvation can not be dependent on ourselves. When a person says, we must do good works and follow Jesus in order to be saved, Well how many good works must we do? How well must we follow Jesus? Everyone that has faith will produce good works, "fruits of faith". Since we have faith, God is pleased with our good works. But what is the purpose of our works which God has prepared in advance for us to do.
Matthew 5:16
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
1 Peter 2:12
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

The purpose of our good works is so that others see God through us, so that they will praise God.

Why is God going to let us into heaven one day? He will let us in because we have Christ standing beside us; the one who remained perfect in our place, fulfilling all the requirements of the law.
Faith without deeds is not faith. But our works don't save us, Christ did; through the gift of faith that he gives us through the Holy Spirit.

Have a blessed summer.

del_button July 5, 2006 at 2:40 PM
andy said...

I have a special connection to this story (but from Luke 8) as it was where God called me to His active service.

I plan on writing down someday, since it's the quintessintial event that changed my life my Junior Year of High School

del_button July 5, 2006 at 3:39 PM
Moneybags said...

Horicon: "When a person says, we must do good works and follow Jesus in order to be saved, Well how many good works must we do? "

There is no certain number. We must live Christian lives and do what we can to serve and love God. Only our Lord knows what we are capable of. This is what I've been saying all along.

Have a good summer too, Horicon. And I'm glad you have been visiting EWTN. It's an excellent resource with a lot of knowledgable people. Are you looking into the Catholic faith or just wanting more information.

I have had a fairly busy summer. When I'm not blogging I'm away with friends/family or working. In a few weeks I'm going to be on a vacation for awhile.

God Bless, Horicon. I'm glad to here from you.

del_button July 5, 2006 at 3:39 PM
Moneybags said...

Andy, if you ever do write about it, I'd love to read it.

del_button July 5, 2006 at 4:38 PM
horicon said...

I'm just looking for more information. I have met and become friends with numerous Catholics over this year, and it is imporant to me to learn as much as i can. The more i have been looking into the Catholic Faith, the more i have been turned away from it. Some of the Answers that i have read on the EWTN website have been contradictary {ex. calling Mary Co-redemptrix}, and alot of the answers are based on opinion. The people on the website don't always seem very humble, and basically they use the supposed authority of the Church to suggest that everything they say is absolutly right without question.
Even Catholics are doubting some of the things they are taught, and the are sometimes like the Bereans.
Acts 17:11 Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.

I do not see the light that you see. To me, the Catholic Church is too preoccupied with people; "pope, saints, etc. and is not giving its fulright attention and glory to God. I just don't find it very logical or Biblical, that Jesus founded a single church and would give to men such great authority as the Catholic Church says it has.

I ponder about this all the time. The Catholic Church says it is the one true church founded by Jesus. Looking at Scripture i just don't see it.

Thank you for your response,
have a great vacation.

del_button July 5, 2006 at 8:49 PM
Moneybags said...

Horicon: "The more i have been looking into the Catholic Faith, the more i have been turned away from it. Some of the Answers that i have read on the EWTN website have been contradictary {ex. calling Mary Co-redemptrix}, and alot of the answers are based on opinion."

First off, please realize that Co-redemptrix is not a dogma of the faith. While many Catholics believe it, it is not a dogma of the faith. There are only 4 dogmas concerning Mary: She is the Mother God, She was assumed into Heaven, She was immaculately conceived, and She was Ever-Virgin.

I'm also sorry to hear that you are receiving contradictory answers. If you really want to learn what the Church teaches then you have to read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (http://www.usccb.org/catechism/text/). The document was created because John Paul ll wanted it made, and it came out finally in 1992. It is a book that includes all of the teachings of the Church along with reasons why we believe what we believe (footnote reference Scripture on every page).

Be careful what you read online as you would with anything. Some people don't know what they are talking about. The Catechism is the answer. "Catholicism for Dummies" is good too and easier to read, but the Catechism (called the CCC for short) is the best source of Catholic information.

Horicon: "I do not see the light that you see. To me, the Catholic Church is too preoccupied with people; "pope, saints, etc. and is not giving its fulright attention and glory to God. I just don't find it very logical or Biblical, that Jesus founded a single church and would give to men such great authority as the Catholic Church says it has. "

The Catechism answers these questions too. The Catholic Church is very, very biblical. For me, the Light shines so brightly in the Catholic faith. Where is that light? It is in the Holy Eucharist? Have you ever been to a Mass and observe bread and wine become Jesus Christ? Have you ever been to Eucharistic Adoration and sat before Jesus truly present on the altar? Have you ever been to Confession and felt the deepest source of forgiveness rush into your soul?

I have. I have heard several recent converts say that they could never go back to Protestant churches because of those three reasons. Jesus Christ is there.


We remember saints and popes because they bring us closer to Jesus. For example, today I wrote about St. Anthony Zaccaria. I wrote about him not for us to glory him but for people to realize the kind of love we should have for God.

Also, I think that you and I have agreed with the faith v. works debate all along. I'm only saying that a person must have faith in God. I know you agree with that. Secondly, I know that a person must live a Christian life. He should pray and go closer to God. He needs to be baptized and receive the Eucharist like Our Lord said. But, he needs to live a good Christian life. I'm sure you agree with that. There is no certain amount of good works. He must live the best life he can for Our Lord.

I created a post (it's at the top of my blog) just for us to talk about things like this. I made it for all non-Catholics, so if you would like to continue this discussion, please continue it there.

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