Does Christ’s call make us uncomfortable? How much will it cost us to follow Christ? How far will serving God take us out of our routine? How far out of our comfort zones?


Oh, amazing were the Gadarenes; the people of Gadara a village talked about in today’s Gospel!. The people of Jesus’ time had an overwhelming belief in evil spirits. The air was so full of these spirits, that it was said that it was not even possible to insert the point of a needle into the air without coming against one. Such evil spirits still can be heard or seen in some of our societies today. But most evidently in our world there is much evil in continual war, injustice, hunger and oppression. As Jesus was able to cast out demons in His own world, we believe He can and will cast out evil from our own world. Let us pray constantly for this and give our energies to this task.

Evil can become so widespread that it becomes accepted, even comfortable. Look at the two poor demoniacs in today’s gospel. They are coming from the tombs, where, the evangelist says, people routinely avoid traveling, due to the savage nature of the pair. People simply circumvented them and had come to accept their condition. Today’s first reading says,

“Hate evil and love good, and let justice prevail at the gate.” (Amos 5:15a)
The “gate” here refers to an area just inside the ancient city gate, where courts of law were held in the public square. It was the place where justice was to prevail. We can today relate this gate to our life in Christ. Enter Jesus, who expels the demons and frees the two from their considerable suffering. But instead of gratitude, His action upset the locals, who begged Him to get out of town! I’ve always found their story kind of sad.  Jesus comes to their land.  He demonstrates His compassion, power and love by casting demons out of two men.  And the people point Jesus towards the exit.  They reject Jesus.  Why?  Were the people that set in their patterns feel that demon possession was okay?  Did Christ’s compassion make them uncomfortable?  Did His power frighten them?  Did anyone celebrate or give thanks that two men had been saved from demons?  Did anyone leave and follow Christ?  Did anyone ask Jesus to come home for dinner?  The demons recognized Jesus, but did the people?  You have to wonder.

“They begged Him to leave their neighborhood.” –Matthew 8:34

We may be probably pretty critical of these locals of Gadara.  And yet sometimes we have wonder how much we are like them.  Do we recognize Jesus?  Do we listen to His call?  Does Christ’s call make us uncomfortable?  How do we react if we don’t like what we hear?  How much will it cost us to follow Christ?  Can we really trust God?  How far will serving God take us out of our routine?  How far out of our comfort zones?

Jesus has been thrown out of many neighborhoods, as He was thrown out of this town. He usually gets thrown out for “disturbing the war” instead of “disturbing the peace.” Jesus comes into a neighborhood and calls us to repent, forgive, and obey. Then He casts out the devil and gives us peace.  Deep down, many neighborhoods don’t want the peace of Jesus because we must accept Him as our Lord before we know Him as our Peace. If Jesus is the Lord of our lives, then we can’t be the lords and do our own thing; we must do His thing. We throw Jesus out of our neighborhoods because we refuse Him entry into our hearts as our Lord. If Jesus did what we told Him to do, we would let Him stay in the neighborhood. Since He insists on being Lord and God and so do we, there’s no room for both Jesus and us in our neighborhood. Our pride, sin, selfishness, and rebellion must go, if Jesus is to stay.

Yesterday I told you about the 15-year-old teenagers in Texas who feel that they are being called to come on a mission trip to Uganda. And now, they tell me that so many think they are crazy; friends and may be family!  Funny how this works. That these two young girls are willing and ready to travel way outside of their comfort zone! And as Faith and Tyler prepare for this mission trip, they are going to have to trust God.  Their faith would have to be in God’s faithfulness.  That God would show them what to do when the time comes.  This is hard.

My prayer today is for all of us who hear God’s call, but aren’t sure whether or how to follow it.  My prayer is for all those going on missions that they would be servants who put themselves in God’s hands.  That Christ’s light would shine through them.

 

Dear reader, if you found this article helpful, consider supporting this work so that we can be able to take the daily word to even more people that long for it.

Your gift will help us in paying the costs that come with this ministry work and to help our new apostolate among the children of Home Sweet Orphanage. Thank you so much.

 

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