The Fifth Sunday after Pentecost

Aside

We continue in our careful consideration of the Gospel of Luke in the long sequence of Sundays of Ordinary Time before the First of December. It is useful to look at the texts immediately before the reading for today and then those that follow directly.
BEFORE

  • The True Kindred of Jesus  – 21 But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”
  • Jesus Calms a Storm – 25 He said to them, “Where is your faith?” They were afraid and amazed, and said to one another, “Who then is this, that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?”

JESUS HEALS THE GERASENE DEMONIAC

AFTER

2 Healings

  • Woman with issue of blood
  • Jarius’ daughter

Were I to name this I might call who’s in and who’s out.  The prepostions in and out get used a lot by Luke.  What might they tell us?

I am indebted to Ann-Janine Morey for this insight of the dominant use of Out in the first half and In in the second half.

  • Jesus goes out of the boat
  • Man out of the tombs
  • Jesus prepares to tell demons: out
  • Don’t send us out of the region
  • Send into the pigs
  • Demons come out of man & into the pigs
  • Pigs go into the sea and are drowned in the sea
  • Pig-herds go to tell what happened in the city and country
  • Residents beg Jesus to “get out of here.”
  • Jesus gets into boat
  • The healed man goes into the city/Gadara  [Mark:5:1-20 – He testified in all the ten cities what Jesus had done for him]
Map of Roman Palestine with the Decapolis citi...

Map of Roman Palestine with the Decapolis cities labeled in black. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is this the end of the story. No, actually not.

The Gadarene swine fallacy

The GSF is the fallacy of supposing that because a group is in the right formation, it is necessarily on the right course; and conversely, of supposing that because an individual has strayed from the group and isn’t in formation, that he is off course. The individual may seem lost to the group but not off course to an ideal observer.

The fallacy is  illustrated  in R.D. Laing’s Politics of Experience. Here is an excerpt from that work:  From an ideal vantage point on the ground, a formation of planes may be observed in the air. One plane may be out of formation. But the whole formation may be off course. The plane that is ‘out of formation’ may be abnormal, bad or ‘mad,’ from the point of view of the formation. But the formation itself may be bad or mad from the point of view of the ideal observer. The plane that is out of formation may also be more or less off course than the formation itself is.

I learned this very thing from just such a family.  Many years ago  a fine perfectly normal
family brought me their crazy member, as I recall,  to “be fixed.”   After quite a lot of work I realized finally that in this family the only healthy response was to be crazy! The “crazy” one was indeed crazy but was not nearly as scary as the so-called “healthy” family members.

  • Note the Pigs are in perfect formation just as they run off the cliff
  • The Gadarans are in perfect formation just as they tell Jesus to get lost

The healed demoniac went throughout the ten cities [Mark says] preaching the Gospel.   End of story?    No, not at all.

James the Just, brother of Jesus, was the first Bishop of Jerusalem for almost 40 years beginning shortly after the resurrection until he was martyred ca.68 AD.

In 70AD Jerusalem was destroyed, the temple burned, and  Jewish state ended. Just after 70 Simeon bar Cleopas,  first cousin of Jesus, was elected the second Bishop of Jerusalem.  During the second rebellion against Rome, Bishop Simeon led the Church out the burning Jerusalem to Sanctuary in Pella. It turns out that Pella was  just south-west of Gadara and is one of the 10 cities of the Decapolis. There is evidence of a very early church there. Who do you suppose started that?

I’m Just Saying.

Remember:

  • The Gadarene swine fallacy:  Just because a group  are ‘in formation,’ doesn’t mean they are necessarily ‘on course.’
  • Sewell’s Corollary to the Gadarene swine fallacy:  In the economy of heaven the crazy ones, who know they can’t make it on their own are the very ones God chooses to use.”

And so it is.  In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.