The story is found in three of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke. Jesus frees a man from his demons; a man who had been cast out of so-called normal society and forced to find asylum among the tombstones in a cemetery. This man believed (rightly or wrongly) that he was possessed by a thousand demons; so Jesus, in order to help him, had to demonstrate that the demons had left him and found another place to live. The story says that Jesus sent the demons (or sent something) into a nearby herd of pigs. The now-possessed pigs stampeded and hurled themselves over a cliff into the Sea of Galilee. The local farmers were naturally irate as they witnessed all that pork (jobs, income, etc.) now floating in the sea. They didn’t begrudge the man (or did they?) now free of his demons, but they couldn’t see why his healing had to happen at the expense of their livestock. They begged Jesus to get out of their neighborhood for fear they might lose even more of their property. They liked pigs, they needed the pigs, and the pigs were their priority. Jesus’ priority was the man (persons). The contrast in values is evident. The farmers put the pigs first, people second. Jesus put people first, pigs second.
I was watching a documentary about the starvation of children in various places around the world. The commentator told the sad story of how the children had food, but the food did not provide for their nutritional needs. Then came the commercial. It was an advertisement for a high-cost, especially nutritious dog food. I had just seen children with empty bowls or a piece of crusty bread and now I was seeing red meaty chunks covered with thick gravy and a shaggy dog eating better than millions of children around the world. What a contrast!
President Trump, in his speech announcing US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, mentions “the environment six times, climate twice, global temperature once and the economy more than 20.” He said, “This agreement is less about the climate and more about other countries gaining a financial advantage over the United States.” He seems more concerned about America’s sovereignty and financial advantage than protecting people from the global warming. Climate agreement or coal?
The question is: What are our priorities? Pigs, persons, children, or dogs? When the religious folk jumped all over Jesus for healing on the Sabbath he called them hypocrites. He accused them of being kinder to their donkeys, sheep, and oxen than they were to people: “What man of you, if he has one sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a person than a sheep!”
|"We, the People" are not Terra Cotta Soldiers!|