Today we hear the Gospel of St. Luke Chapter 8:26-39 in which Jesus arrives in the land of the Gedarenes and encounters a man possessed with demons from the city. The man entreated the Lord not to torment him for Jesus had commanded that the demons leave this man. The demons asked to be loosed into a herd of swine from which they fell down the embankment into the water and drowned, thus freeing the man from demonic possession.
Many of the townspeople upon hearing of this man’s recovery saw him sitting, now clothed in his right mind, because before the man was previously naked and shackled would often break loose into the wilderness.
Upon his healing the man wanted to accompany Jesus in his ministry; however, the Lord said no rather go and tell everyone what good things God had done for him. The important message of this gospel lesson is that Jesus came not to bring us new moral teachings or to set down new social or political programs, rather Jesus came to heal our bodies and souls, to redeem us from sin and death, to give us new and God-centered lives through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in John 6:37, “I will never turn away anyone who comes to me!” In Matthew 11:28 Jesus again says, “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest”.
My dear people, His gift of new life involves not only new attitudes, new ways of doing things and a new spiritual direction but most importantly a new self!
Christ changes not merely the spiritual circumstances in which we live, but also our inner being or character – Us! There in the depths of our heart, where we experience what we are and how we feel about ourselves, where our own self-image is often distorted and covered up by frustration and guilt, where God has nevertheless placed a treasury of spiritual gifts and powers, there is where the personal identity, of each human being is located and awaits an explosive release by the grace of Christ!
So just as Jesus asked the man possessed with the demons, “What is your name?”, because he loved him and wanted to know who he was, the same Jesus loves you and asks you the same question. What is your name, that is, who are you?
Today we also commemorate two great Unmercenary Physicians and Wonderworkers Sts. Cosmas and Damian. Holy Physicians Cosmas and Damian, pray unto God for us as we continue to endure this pandemic.