13th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Am 5:14–15, 21–24
Seek good and shun evil, that you may live. Then Yahweh, the God of hosts, as you have claimed, will be with you.
Hate wickedness and love virtue, and let justice prevail in the courts; perhaps Yahweh, the God of hosts, will take pity on the remnant of Joseph.
I hate, I reject your feasts, I take no pleasure when you assemble to offer me your burnt offerings. Your cereal offerings, I will not accept! Your offerings of fattened beasts, I will not look upon!
Away with the noise of your chanting, away with your strumming on harps. But let justice run its course like water, and righteousness be like an ever-flowing river.
Gospel: Matthew 8:28-34
When Jesus reached Gadara on the other side, he was met by two demoniacs who came out from the tombs. They were so fierce that no one dared to pass that way. Suddenly they shouted, “What do you want with us, you, Son of God? Have you come to torture us before the time?”
At some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding. So the demons begged him, “If you drive us out, send us into that herd of pigs.” Jesus ordered them, “Go.” So they left and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned.
The men in charge of them ran off to the town, where they told the whole story, also what had happened to the men possessed with the demons. Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their area.
By the end of the story Jesus had rearranged everything: the demons have gone into the pigs, which in turn have gone into the water. Jews had a great fear of water – for them the sea was the abode of Leviathan, the monster of the deep – as it was appropriate that the pigs should end up there. Besides it also was fatal to demons so it was right that they should end up there. Thus, Jesus restores everything to its proper place, and establishes right order. But the other order could be said to be “right” too in a sense. The local people were happy with it. They begged Jesus to go away: he had upset the arrangement of the world. That makes me think: what are the arrangements in my life that seem “right” to me (at least in the sense of being familiar), but which are not right at all?
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