On 17 July 2011, the 5th Sunday after the Pentecost, the evangelical pericope presenting the “Healing of the two demon-possessed men in the region of Garadenes” was read in all the places of worship of the Romanian Patriarchate.
“Today’s Gospel shows us the divinity of Jesus Christ, our Saviour, and His victory over the demoniac powers. Secondly, the Gospel shows us the merciful love of Jesus Christ, our Lord, who wants the people healed and rid of evil spirits. Thirdly, the Gospel shows us that sometimes God allows material damage for our spiritual improvement.
His Beatitude Daniel, Patriarch of the Romanian Orthodox Church also underlined that Jesus Christ, our Lord, helps people out of His right free will.
“The merciful love of the Lord does not always wait to be asked, because the merciful love is full of initiative, kindness, aiding, healing, release, of wish to raise the sick, enslaved or decayed. So, we see that the merciful love of Jesus Christ, our Lord, looks for those who cannot look for Him anymore, but who still need Him. He looks for those who cannot talk anymore, who cannot ask Him anymore. Why does He go to the region of Garadenes if nobody asked Him to? He goes there because He, God-the-Man, in whose image the man was created, is sad when He sees the image of God in man humiliated by the wickedness of the demons, tortured by the hostility of the evil spirits”.
His Beatitude also spoke about the reason why the demons asked to get into the herd of pigs. The demons asked to be allowed to get into the herd of pigs to cause damage to the inhabitants of the region of Garadenes and turn them against Jesus. So, in order to take their revenge against Jesus who got them out of the people whom they tortured, the demons asked to be allowed to get into the herd of pigs to upraise the owners of the pigs and make them the enemies of Jesus, and so, to ask Him to leave their region.
The Primate of the Romanian Orthodox Church explained that God pedagogically deprives us of certain goods.
“This material damage that Jesus Christ allowed was a sign, a lesson for the inhabitants of the region of Garadenes who were interested rather in the material profit than in the healing of their fellow beings. The desire of profit dehumanised them so much that they could no longer enjoy the fact that two of their fellow beings were healed and so good was done to them too, because these demon-possessed were no longer dangerous for them when they passed near the graves. So, the Gospel shows us that sometimes God allows some material damage in our life in order to wake us up spiritually, to make us give priority to the spiritual life. He deprives us of fortune, sometimes of high ranks, of comfort, of friends and leaves us alone and poor so that we should no longer hope too much in people and material things, but first of all in God and cultivate spiritual life.”
To end with his sermon, His Beatitude Daniel said that “Today’s Gospel is a healing one, and of divine pedagogy, of the wisdom of God. It is the Gospel of healing because it healed two demon-possessed people, possessed by evil spirits, but He has also healed the inhabitants of the region of Garadenes of greed, of too much greed of material things and forgetting about spiritual life. Yet, it is a Gospel of the wisdom of God too, because sometimes He does not punish man directly, but deprives him of the things around him just to remind him that everything around us is temporary and that only the grace of God is eternal which we get through faith, through Jesus Christ, prayer, Holy Sacraments and good deeds. This is why the Gospel urges us to more faith in Christ. So, if we are united with Christ, the evil spirits do not have any power over the Christian. If a Christian prays in the morning, afternoon and evening and says very often: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of Good, have mercy for me, the sinner!”, the evil spirits do not have any power over the one who is full of the grace of the love of Christ. If we do good deeds, go to church, have the Holy Sacraments often, then we are spiritually strengthened and the evil spirits do not have any power over us.”