FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE NEW EVANGELIZATION
February 4, 2013
Today’s gospel: Mark 5:1-20
The situation of the world today is dire. People live amid darkness and evil. It is like the situation in the territory of the Gerasenes. There are many a man “who had an unclean spirit” (Mk 5:2). People are “dwelling among the tombs” (Mk 5:3a), where there is death. Evil rampages, “and no one could restrain (it) any longer” (Mk 5:3b). People of goodwill do try to do something about containing the situation, but are helpless in stopping the tsunami of evil and things are just getting worse. “In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed” (Mk 5:4a).
It seemed “no one was strong enough to subdue him.” (Mk 5:4b). No one, except Jesus the stronger man.
The man with the unclean spirit encountered “Jesus, Son of the Most High God” (Mk 5:7b), and he was changed. His desperate situation was totally overturned. In “catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and prostrated himself before him” (Mk 5:6). He had started to meet Christ. Jesus healed him of demonic possession (Mk 5:8,13a). Immediately the man was transformed, from a dirty, naked, violent man “always crying out and bruising himself with stones” (Mk 5:5) to a man subdued, peaceful, “sitting there clothed and in his right mind.” (Mk 5:15b). He was starting to live Christ. And he wanted to enter more deeply into a life with Jesus, as he “pleaded to remain with him.” (Mk 5:18b). Finally, “the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him” (Mk 5:20a). He had started to share Christ.
Our transformation in Christ proceeds in ever-growing circles. It starts with us, as we start to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus. Then the circle of renewal goes to those closest and dearest to us, our family. We follow Jesus’ directive: “Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you.” (Mk 5:19b). Then, with the home front starting to be secure, we proclaim the good news of salvation in Jesus to everyone else (Mk 5:20).
Now the enemy who holds many people in bondage will not sit idly by while this process of transformation happens. The demons of hell will resist. And mind you, “there are many of (them)” (Mk 5:9c). With great hostility, they will be “crying out in a loud voice, ‘What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me!’” (Mk 5:7). They will maneuver and contend with the forces of God “not to drive them away from that territory.” (Mk 5:10b).
Unfortunately, the evil spirits will be assisted by humans, wittingly or unwittingly. There are those who will be afraid. The townspeople who saw what happened “were seized with fear.” (Mk 5:15c). There are those who are invested in the culture of death, such as contraceptive makers and abortion mills. When the townspeople saw their swine drowned, “they began to beg him to leave their district.” (Mk 5:17). Rather than just rejoicing that the evil spirits had gone, they wanted Jesus to be the one to go.
We must want to meet Christ, live Christ and share Christ. And when we do proclaim him and the gospel, when we tell the world what Jesus has done for us, then the result will be the same as what happened with the man’s proclamation: “all were amazed.” (Mk 5:20b).
Onward with the New Evangelization!
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