The gospel lesson for this Sunday from Luke 8:26-39, brings us face to face with a strange and fearsome man who lived in first century Palestine. It tells us of this encounter where he meets Christ and His life changes completely.
Interestingly this encounter illustrates that Christ did not come into the world to bring us new moral teachings or to set down new revolutionary social or political programs but rather he simply came to heal our bodies and souls, to redeem us from sin and death and to give to us new fresh energetic God centered lives through the power of the Holy Spirit.
God’s gift of new life involves nor only new attitudes, new ways of doing things and a new spiritual direction, but most of all a new self! That is the essence of this familiar story from the Gospel about the Gadarene.
Jesus asked the Gadarene man his name, for He wanted to know him and love him just as he wants to know and love each of us. This Gospel is in essence a chance for us to understand and experience our own identity as Orthodox Christians. Our Lord accepts us as we are and what we are, for He constantly strives to give us true identity in Him. But often our reaction is one of great fear, just like the Gadarene man; rather, when we meet the Lord, we must invite Him into our life trusting completely and letting Him change our old self into a new and faithful person in Christ.
May Our Lord deliver us and all people from evil forces which distort our identity as human beings and sometimes, periodically threaten to destroy us altogether.
“Lord, enter into the depths of our being and give us our true identity in Your image. Cleanse us from the evils of the old self, selfishness, fear, guilt and wrong deeds which hold us prisoners and torment us in various ways.”
Lord, Our God, hear our prayer and heal us!