Daily Gospel Reflection: Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Bishop Robert Barron
January 29, 2024
Monday of the Fourth Week in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Mk 5:1-20
Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea, to the territory of the Gerasenes. When he got out of the boat, at once a man from the tombs who had an unclean spirit met him. The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain. In fact, he had frequently been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains had been pulled apart by him and the shackles smashed, and no one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and prostrated himself before him, 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!" (He had been saying to him, "Unclean spirit, come out of the man!") He asked him, "What is your name?" He replied, "Legion is my name. There are many of us." And he pleaded earnestly with him not to drive them away from that territory.
Now a large herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside. And they pleaded with him, "Send us into the swine. Let us enter them." And he let them, and the unclean spirits came out and entered the swine. The herd of about two thousand rushed down a steep bank into the sea, where they were drowned. The swineherds ran away and reported the incident in the town and throughout the countryside. And people came out to see what had happened. As they approached Jesus, they caught sight of the man who had been possessed by Legion, sitting there clothed and in his right mind. And they were seized with fear. Those who witnessed the incident explained to them what had happened to the possessed man and to the swine. Then they began to beg him to leave their district. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed pleaded to remain with him. But Jesus would not permit him but told him instead, "Go home to your family and announce to them all that the Lord in his pity has done for you." Then the man went off and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him; and all were amazed.
*United States Conference of Catholic
Bishop Robert Barron
Friends, today’s Gospel shows Jesus driving the unclean spirit from the Gerasene demoniac. What we see here on vivid display is Jesus the miracle worker.
Modern thinkers tend to be wary of this dimension. For instance, Thomas Jefferson took a straight razor to the pages of the Gospels and cut out everything that smacked of the supernatural—miracles, exorcisms, and so on. The problem, of course, is that he had to make an absolute mess of Mark’s Gospel, which is positively chock-a-block with such things.
Jefferson’s contemporary, the great modern philosopher David Hume, wrote a powerfully influential text against miracles. He claimed that since the laws of nature were set, miracles were, strictly speaking, impossible. Accounts of them, he concluded, were the result of the foggy or wishful thinking of primitive people.
But though God typically lets the universe run according to its natural rhythms and patterns, what is to prevent him from shaping it and influencing it occasionally in remarkable ways, in order to signal his purpose and presence?
Các bạn thân mến, bài Tin Mừng hôm nay cho thấy Chúa Giêsu xua đuổi thần ô uế khỏi tên quỷ Gerasene. Những gì chúng ta thấy ở đây được thể hiện sống động là Chúa Giêsu, người làm phép lạ.
Các nhà tư tưởng hiện đại có xu hướng cảnh giác với chiều hướng này. Ví dụ, Thomas Jefferson đã dùng một con dao cạo thẳng để cắt các trang Phúc Âm và cắt bỏ mọi thứ có vẻ siêu nhiên—phép lạ, trừ tà, v.v. Tất nhiên, vấn đề là anh ta đã phải tạo ra một mớ hỗn độn hoàn toàn trong Phúc âm của Mác, vốn chắc chắn là rất khó khăn với những thứ như vậy.
Người đương thời với Jefferson, triết gia hiện đại vĩ đại David Hume, đã viết một bài viết có ảnh hưởng mạnh mẽ chống lại phép lạ. Ông tuyên bố rằng vì các quy luật tự nhiên đã được ấn định nên phép lạ nói đúng ra là không thể xảy ra. Ông kết luận rằng những lời tường thuật về chúng là kết quả của suy nghĩ mơ hồ hoặc mơ tưởng của người nguyên thủy.
Nhưng mặc dù Chúa thường để cho vũ trụ vận hành theo nhịp điệu và khuôn mẫu tự nhiên của nó, nhưng điều gì ngăn cản Ngài định hình và đôi khi tác động lên nó theo những cách đáng chú ý, để báo hiệu mục đích và sự hiện diện của Ngài?