love the captives into jesus
"Shimei...was coming out of the place, cursing as he came. He threw stones at David." —2 Samuel 16:5-6
Shimei behaved toward King David like Satan and his demons behave toward the people of God. Shimei threw curses and stones at David, kicking David while he was at the lowest point in his life. Shimei did his best to drive the king out of town (see 2 Sm 16:7). The Gerasene townspeople likewise drove Jesus, a King greater than David, out of town (Mk 5:17).
Why do people choose hell over heaven, and Satanic possession over the Kingdom of God? It's because they don't know Jesus. He seems more frightful to them than does Satan. The Gerasene people knew the terror of the devil from the demoniac's occupation of their road. However, the power and love of Jesus "terrorized" the Gerasenes more than did the familiar demons. All these people knew was terror, and they chose the familiar terror of demonic possession instead of the "terror" of Jesus' liberating love that would require them to change their lives.
So it is with many caught up in the lifestyle of this culture of death. Just the thought of living a holy lifestyle brings terror to their minds and hearts. Forgiving enemies, living in chastity, tithing — these and other aspects of discipleship fill them with fear and terror. Although many have endured lives of being captive in abusive relationships, fear, and sin, they choose the familiar over the presumed terror of God's unknown kingdom.
How much these people need to know the loving mercy of Jesus! That is exactly why God has put you into the lives of these people. We have work to do to make Jesus known. Our job is not easy. Therefore, receive the power of the Holy Spirit and the patience, forgiveness, and gentleness of Jesus.
Prayer: Father, You have anointed me to set the captives free (Lk 4:18) and love them into Your arms. Pour out Your Spirit on me.
Promise: "You, O Lord, are my Shield." Ps 3:4
Praise: A friend invited Martha to Mass and Jesus changed her life.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 3, 2017
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