"They begged Him to leave their neighborhood." —Matthew 8:34
Jesus has been thrown out of many neighborhoods, as He was thrown out of the town near the Gadarene boundary. 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.
In the neighborhood mentioned in today's Gospel reading, the road was closed because of the savagery of two demon-possessed men (Mt 8:28). Jesus drove out the demons, opened the road, and brought peace to the neighborhood. You'd think the chamber of commerce would give Him an award. Instead, they begged Jesus "to leave their neighborhood" (Mt 8:34).
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 (see Eph 2:14). 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.
Prayer: Jesus, be Lord of my life, heart, home, and neighborhood.
Promise: "Seek good and not evil, that you may live; then truly will the Lord, the God of hosts, be with you." —Am 5:14
Praise: St. Elizabeth prayed forty-one years for her adulterous, neglectful husband. God answered her prayers as he repented on his deathbed.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Pride and Faith on audio AV 64-1 or video V-64.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 29, 2012
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