From The WORD in other Words (2019) by Fr Cornelio Alpuerto SVD (Cebu City, Philippines)
“Why meddle with me, Jesus Son of God most High? I implore you in God’s name, do not torture me!” These words came from “the man from the tombs,” as he shrieked in a loud voice. This man was not only filthy; he has an unclean spirit in him. Fearsome and troubled, he was truly a man from the tombs. Amazing, that a man with an unclean spirit recognised Jesus for what he is: Son of God Most High!
But knowledge alone does not necessarily lead to faith and commitment. In fact, as somebody observes, knowledge without integrity is a tragedy.
Clearly, the man from the tombs was afraid of Jesus, the One who would one day come out of the tomb himself radiant, victorious. He implored Jesus not to torment him, for Jesus was exorcizing the man. That’s a good way to define it: exorcizing is tormenting an evil spirit possessing a man into going out of him.
Interesting that the unclean spirit — or spirits, because there were many of them, after all — also pleaded in real earnest not to be driven away from that neighbourhood. So, there are certain places (and persons!) where (in whom) evil spirits feel at home!
But now look at the man possessed by Legion just a while before! He is now decently dressed, he is now in his right mind. He is set free, at last. And he wants to be in the company of his Liberator.
Truly, a liberation it was! For the man was not only under the influence of an evil spirit, he was the dwelling-place of Legion. He was what he would never have wanted to be. He was a prisoner without hope of regaining his freedom… Until Jesus came along and caught sight of him.
Indeed, Jesus came to set prisoners free! Now free, the man from the tombs would very much like to be in the company of Jesus. But Jesus would rather have him do a particular mission: “Go home to your family and make it clear to them how much the Lord in his mercy had done for you.”
Home? For the man, home was way beyond the confines of the house where his family lived. For he proclaimed throughout the Ten Cities what Jesus had done for him.
At his proclamation, many must have come to realise — as many must still come to realise — that they don’t have to rot in the tombs of their vices, their fears, their doubts, their hatred and the like, but they may come out and bask in the sunshine of God’s healing power. All they have to do is to put themselves within sight of Jesus and call out to him from the depts of their misery.