Monday, February 4, 2013

Ordinary 4 Monday

"Do not torment me!" cried the demon-possessed man in today’s gospel when Jesus approached him. Considering that he bruised himself with stones, screamed day and night, and lived naked amongst the tombs, one wonders what he feared Jesus might do to torment him in any way worse than his current situation.

Certainly our situations are very different from those of this man. However, maybe we can empathize with him, to a certain degree. I say this because all of us struggle with sins, compulsions, habits, and attitudes that diminish our humanity and separate us from God and from other people. Instead of trying to change, however, we resist it, just like the man in the gospel. We resign ourselves to our situation, and even become comfortable with it.

Perhaps we deny we have a problem, or make rationalizations and excuses for it. Maybe we think we’re beyond any realistic hope of change. Or it could be that we’re too afraid to change. As one couple that dropped out of marriage counseling said, "We’re afraid of what counseling will do to our marriage. We don’t have the guts to come back."

Today’s gospel ended, however, with the once possessed man clothed, happy, in his right mind, and enjoying a life-giving relationship with Jesus. He should be for us both a challenge and a sign. He challenges us to move beyond our complacency and our fear and let Jesus into the dark corners of our lives. And he’s a sign of whom, with Jesus, all of us can hope to become.

(My book of daily meditations for Lent is now available from Ave Maria Press: It is available also at Amazon: )

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