Homily 234 –Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Holy Transfiguration Orthodox Church, Ames, Iowa
October 30, 2016
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God.
We’ve talked before about this passage. About how the uncontrollable was controllable by Christ, how the holiness of Christ prompted the people to ask Christ to leave.
This morning, as we look again at the Legion of demons cast out from this unfortunate man. And particularly, if we may, pay attention to Christ’s instructions to this newly-healed, newly-illumined man: Return to your house and proclaim what great things God has done for you.
It is common perhaps to only remember God when we have a need, or what we perceive as a need.
During times of loss, times of hurt, we are encouraged to find God – and that is absolutely appropriate and good.
In other times, we perhaps don’t see God as visibly. In the times of plenty, when our perceived needs are few, we neglect God. Maybe we even forget about God.
So periodically, just as it is good to slow down and assess ourselves in the light of preparing for confession – what we have done selfishly or harmfully to ourselves, our families, our neighbors and friends.
It is also helpful periodically to slow down and think of how God has blessed us. How God has healed us – is healing us.
The demoniac probably had good days and bad days. Times when he recognized he needed help, and times when he just let the demons win, and times when he fought them successfully.
We have good days, and bad days, and days when we struggle and days when the exhaustion overtakes us and we simply give in.
But then God heals the demoniac, casting out the demons which tormented him.
And God heals us also, casting out our demons.
In the baptismal service, when we are made catechumens, we all have the demons cast out from us. And they are told in no wise may they return.
But in our self-centeredness, we invite them back in. Or when we discover them having snuck into our house, into our heart, we fail to cast them out.
Because that is the struggle we have – trying to evict the demons that possess us. The evil that dwells within us.
The whole of our life consists of this struggle. Thank God we are delivered from them. Thanks be to God they may fight us and occasionally win, but the war is already over and we have won. Our Savior, our Redeemer, has come and has cast them out.
So that we might sit fully clothed, in our right mind, possessed no more.
Perhaps our plight isn’t so dramatic. Perhaps our demons aren’t so visible. And yet, God has cast them out from us.
The Psalmist throughout the psalms recalls the deliverance of God. Be it small deliverances in battles in the land of Canaan, or major deliverance from bondage in Egypt or in Babylon, they are remembered.
And God is thanked. And trust is renewed.
Each of us should create time every day, difficult though it be, to remember what God has done for us. Why we are believers. Why we are servants.
Some things are specific to our situation. Passing an exam, getting through a significant hurdle at work or with family, healing from illness, protection from danger.
But other things are common to all of us.
We have what we need, thanks be to God. We are not hungry, thanks be to God. We are not naked, thanks be to God. We are not imprisoned or tortured, thanks be to God.
We have the hope of the resurrection, thanks be to God. We have the understanding, the trust, the belief that our physical death is not the end of our existence, thanks be to God.
We know that we are loved, thanks be to God.
And that because we are loved, we can love others.
That we are and can be again decent human beings, created in the Image and Likeness of God.
We find fulfillment and meaning in life because of Christ. We are made whole.
Just as the demoniac was made whole.
So that we also may go to our house, our community, and proclaim what great things God has done for us.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, One God. Glory to Jesus Christ!