Jesus frees a demon-possessed man
26 Jesus and his disciples sailed to the Gerasenes’ land, which is across the lake from Galilee. 27 As soon as Jesus got out of the boat, a certain man met him. The man was from the city and was possessed by demons. For a long time, he had lived among the tombs, naked and homeless. 28 When he saw Jesus, he shrieked and fell down before him. Then he shouted, “ What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me! ” 29 He said this because Jesus had already commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had taken possession of him, so he would be bound with leg irons and chains and placed under guard. But he would break his restraints, and the demon would force him into the wilderness.
30 Jesus asked him, “ What is your name? ”
“ Legion, ” he replied, because many demons had entered him. 31 They pleaded with him not to order them to go back into the abyss.t32 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs. Jesus gave them permission, 33 and the demons left the man and entered the pigs. The herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and drowned.
34 When those who tended the pigs saw what happened, they ran away and told the story in the city and in the countryside. 35 People came to see what had happened. They came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone. He was sitting at Jesus’ feet, fully dressed and completely sane. They were filled with awe. 36 Those people who had actually seen what had happened told them how the demon-possessed man had been delivered. 37 Then everyone gathered from the region of the Gerasenes asked Jesus to leave their area because they were overcome with fear. So he got into the boat and returned across the lake. 38 The man from whom the demons had gone begged to come along with Jesus as one of his disciples. Jesus sent him away, saying, 39 “ Return home and tell the story of what God has done for you. ” So he went throughout the city proclaiming what Jesus had done for him.
The flourishing website known as the Episcopal Café (www.episcopalcafe.org) produced by the Diocese of Washington attracts several thousand visitors a day. Its popular column “Speaking to the Soul,” which contains a concise, well-developed spiritual reflection for every day of the year, draws from many different sources, including scripture, church history, saints’ biographies, books of prayers, liturgies, and ancient and contemporary theologians and spiritual writers.
This daily reader grew out of that column. It follows the Episcopal Church’s liturgical seasons and includes observation of major feast days as well as saints’ days.
The reading for a particular saint’s day might be taken from the saint’s writings, prayers, or biography, or might develop a theme such as martyrdom or growth in the spirit. Other readings focus on particular emphases of the seasons (the Incarnation during Advent and Christmas; spiritual disciplines during Lent); or speak more generally to the Christian life (prayer, discipleship, ministry, the sacraments, conflict and reconciliation, and so on).
Readings are taken from every century of the church’s life, with particular attention to how the writings and experiences of earlier Christians can shed light on the difficulties, joys, and concerns of the church today. Excerpts are long enough to give a satisfying and complete context of the writer’s intended meaning.