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Homily

NOTES ON MARK'S NARRATIVE ABOUT THE GERASENE DEMONIAC (5:1-20)
By Augustine Agwulonu
Mon, 01 Feb 2016

NOTES ON MARK'S NARRATIVE ABOUT THE GERASENE DEMONIAC (5:1-20)

1. The narrative begins with Jesus's sail in a boat to cross to the other side of the see. This movement is defined by identifying the location where Jesus's journey ended, in "the territory of the Gerasenes." There is no information about the purpose of this journey. However, upon arrival at the port of the Gerasenes, an episode unfolds.

2. There is an unusual reception for Jesus - a man with unclean spirit goes to welcome The Lord. He demonstrates a curious knowledge of Jesus. And he was disturbingly forward. This is tantamount to attack, which is said to be the best form of defense. The demoniac does not explain who permits him to take possession of God's space. He does not apologize for his illicit occupation of God's space. He does not want to be punished for his intrusion!

3. Now, the narrator gives a detailed description and identification of the man who approaches Jesus at the see shore. From all what is said about this man: who he is, where he lives and what he does, we could draw some conclusions. The man is hyperactive, extraordinarily lousy in an extraordinarily quiet location. He is in battle with himself! He is too strong for any external and physical control, be it by human beings or even with irons and chains. He is only driven by the demonic forces within himself. The demoniac is driven by the mobbing compulsion of the legion within himself, so, much so that he bruises himself. And also, the cacophony of his wild cries pollutes the environment around him with noise. He endangers the safety of the living and disturbs the peace of the dead. And so, the presence of the demoniac at the tombs creates disorder and distortion in the environment. This is caused by the forceful, illicit and intrusive theatrical display going on in the occupied stage of God's child by interloping demonic spirits.

4. Suddenly the demoniac feels the presence of Jesus and he is disarmed, subdued and brought to his knees. Now, the demoniac, who could not be held down by any chains, no matter how strong, prostrates in worship upon encountering Jesus' presence! The demoniac legion, who tyrannizes everyone and disturbs the environment with the noise of his cacophonous voices does not want to be tormented by Jesus! Now, the inconsiderate unclean spirit pleads to be treated with kid gloves! All of a sudden, the legion of demons that stampede and suffocate a single man, forcing him to live among the tombs and the dead, requests that they could vanish in and with their fellow unclean herd of swine feeding in the hillsides.

5. Now, with the demoniac calling attention to the swine, Mark points to another illicit occupation of the environment by unclean creatures in the same region. Who is rearing the swine and for which purpose? How on earth do unclean demons and unclean animals enter the Holy land of Israel? Such illicit occupation must not be allowed to persist!

6. Thus Jesus's presence intervenes and restores safety, peace and order. It saves the environment from noise pollution from lousy demons. When Jesus appears and speaks, calmness returns. This is the will of God for his creation. This is his intention for creation. No intruding forces can occupy God's space without being annihilated. Like the demoniac, Jesus purges us of illicit occupation by whatsoever negative forces that usurp our freedom and rob us of our peace. He saves the environment also from such corrupt occupation. The purity of life and the environment must be preserved always. This is Jesus's mission to rescue and protect God's territory from demonic guerrillas.
And so, in the presence of Jesus is our safety, peace and security. Jesus is the only presence that demobilizes demonic legions. We live comfortably in this presence!

 

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