Friends, in today’s Gospel, Jesus goes into the country of the Gerasenes and is confronted by a man with an unclean spirit, who is chained and living among the tombs.

Why has the man been chained? Is he there on the outskirts of the town for a reason? Philosopher René Girard has written persuasively on the theme of scapegoating violence. Scapegoats perform an important function in the maintenance of human societies, effectively channeling away the competition and violence that would, otherwise, tear a community apart.

And thus the Gerasene demoniac is chained to keep him close. Can we not imagine the citizens of the town coming out to gawk at the poor soul? The tortured man calls himself Legion, for there are “many” in him. Could the many in question be the citizens of the town who have projected their hateful shadows onto him?

By curing the Gerasene demoniac, Jesus announces his intention to break the pattern of scapegoating, and thus to show the people of the village a new way of being in community. Instead of projecting their violence and negativity onto an innocent other, they should turn to the difficult but ultimately soul-enlarging task of self-criticism and conversion.

Gospel Reflections

Daily Gospel Reflections from Bishop Barron

4th week of Ordinary Time

Monday

January 30

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Sunday

January 29

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3rd week of Ordinary Time

Saturday

January 28

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Friday

January 27

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Thursday

January 26

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Wednesday

January 25

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Tuesday

January 24

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Monday

January 23

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Sunday

January 22

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2nd week of Ordinary Time

Saturday

January 21

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Friday

January 20

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Thursday

January 19

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Wednesday

January 18

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Tuesday

January 17

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Monday

January 16

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Sunday

January 15

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1st week of Ordinary Time

Saturday

January 14

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Friday

January 13

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Thursday

January 12

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Wednesday

January 11

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Tuesday

January 10

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Monday

January 9

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Baptism of the Lord

Sunday

January 8

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Epiphany

Christmas Time

Saturday

January 7

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Friday

January 6

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Thursday

January 5

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Wednesday

January 4

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Tuesday

January 3

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Monday

January 2

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Sunday

January 1

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Mary, Mother of God

Christmas Octave

Saturday

December 31

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Friday

December 30

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Holy Family

Thursday

December 29

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Wednesday

December 28

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Tuesday

December 27

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Monday

December 26

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Sunday

December 25

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Christmas Day

4th week of Advent

Saturday

December 24

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Friday

December 23

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Thursday

December 22

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Wednesday

December 21

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Tuesday

December 20

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Monday

December 19

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Sunday

December 18

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3rd week of Advent

Saturday

December 17

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Friday

December 16

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Thursday

December 15

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Wednesday

December 14

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