Let us flee from Absalom. Let Shimei alone, and let him curse, for the Lord has bidden him.
A reading from the second Book of Samuel (2 Samuel 15:13-14.30; 16:5-13a)
In those days: A messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.” Then David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee; or else there will be no escape for us from Absalom; go in haste, lest he overtake us quickly, and bring down evil upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered; and all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went. When King David came to Bahurim, there came out a man of the family of the house of Saul, whose name was Shimei, the son of Gera; and as he came he cursed continually. And he threw stones at David, and at all the servants of King David; and all the people and all the mighty men were on his right hand and on his left. And Shimei said as he cursed, “Begone, begone, you man of blood, you worthless fellow! The Lord has avenged upon you all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose place you have reigned; and the Loan has given the kingdom into the hand of your son Absalom. See, your ruin is on you; for you are a man of blood.” Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and take off his head.” But the king said, “What have I to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord has said to him, ‘Curse David, ’ who then shall say, ‘Why have you done so?”’ And David said to Abishai and to all his servants, “Behold, my own son seeks my life; how much more now may this Benjaminite! Let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord has bidden him. It may be that the Lord will look upon my affliction, and that the Lord will repay me with good for this cursing of me today.” So David and his men went on the road.
The word of the Lord
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 3 :2-3.4-5.6-7 (R. 7;)
R/. Arise, Lord, save me.
How many are my foes, O Lord!
How many are rising up against me!
How many are saying about me
“There is no help for him in God.” R/.
But you, LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, who lift up my head.
I cry aloud to the Lord.
From his holy mountain he answers me. R/.
R/. Arise, Lord, save me.
I lie down, I sleep and I wake,
for the Lord upholds me.
I will not fear even thousands of people
who are ranged on every side against me.
Arise, Lord; save me, my God. R/.
ALLELUIA Luke 7:16
Alleluia. A great prophet has risen among us, and God has visited his people. Alleluia.
“Come out of the man, you unclean spirit.’ ”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (Mark 5:1-20)
At that time: Jesus and his disciples came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when he had come out of the boat, there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who lived among the tombs; and no one could bind him any more, even with a chain; for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but the chains he wrenched apart, and the shackles he broke in pieces; and no one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out, and bruising himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshipped him; and crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he had said to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion; for we are many.” And he begged him eagerly’ not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of swine was feeding there on the hillside; and they begged him, “Send us to the swine, let us enter them.” So he gave them leave. And the unclean spirits came out, and entered the swine; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and were drowned in the sea. The herdsmen fled, and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. And they came to Jesus, and saw the demoniac sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, the man who had had the legion; and they were afraid. And those who had seen it told what had happened to the demoniac and to the swine. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their neighbourhood. And as he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. But he refused, and said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and all men marvelled.
The Gospel of the Lord
And they began to implore Jesus to leave their neighbor-hood. This, unbelievable as it is, is true! Their astonishment at the power of Jesus to heal the demoniac is defaced by their fear on seeing what had become of the pigs. God never imposes himself on the human will; letting God in often requires letting go of worldly things. Theirs was a tale of grace offered but refused! A sad story indeed! It is possible to judge the people of this town and fail to realize that we are like them each time we choose and respect things over persons and the good of others or ourselves, we act like those who pleaded with Jesus to leave their town. For Jesus however, the healing and wellbeing of one man was far more valuable than a herd of two thousand pigs. It should be the same for you and me.