The WORD in Other Words by Fr Arlo Yap SVD (Philippines) for Monday Week 4 in Ordinary Time
We cannot please everyone, even with our noblest intentions and best efforts. Even Jesus, in the Gospel today, was misunderstood and rejected. And David, in our first reading, was cursed.
Earlier in the Gospel accroding to Mark, Jesus taught in the synagogue; people were astonished because He taught them with authority and even commanded the unclean spirits who obeyed him.
But today’s Gospel is a complete contrast. After Jesus had cured the man with unclean spirits and sent these into a herd of about two thousand swine, people who witnessed what had happened, begged him to leave their district. Jesus was rejected by the Gerasenes. Sayang (What a pity!).
In the second book of Samuel, King David was cursed by Shimei. He even threw stones at David and his officers and soldiers.
Most striking in both readings is the moving on. Jesus just got into the boat having been urged to leave the place. David and his party just continued their journey. It is more important to move on than to dwell on rejections from other people.
While it hurts to be rejected and misunderstood, some people take these positively as an opportunity to redirect their attention and concerns elsewhere. The man, who was freed from unclean spirits, wanted to remain with Jesus but Jesus did not allow him. Instead Jesus redirected him to others, the man went off and started to proclaim the mercy of God in what had happened.
And finally, to top it all, the responsorial psalm is a very profound prayer of strength when we are rejected: Lord, rise up and save me. This is the strength that we need, the strength that only comes from the Lord for us to move on. Remember: we cannot please everybody.