Some distance away there was a large herd of pigs feeding. So the demons begged him, “If you drive us out, send us into that herd of pigs.“ Jesus ordered them, “Go!“ So the demons left the men and went into the pigs. The whole herd rushed down the cliff into the lake and was drowned. The men in charge of the pigs ran off to the town, where they told the whole story; and also what had happened to the men possessed with the demons. The whole town went out to meet Jesus; and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.
Today’s Gospel reading tells the story of how Jesus healed two possessed men at the expense of some pigs. The exorcism is meant to accentuate the power of Jesus in his ministry–that he has authority over the Evil One. This power continues to reside in His Church even today and will remain in her until the end of time. It surely is consoling to know that in spite of the abundant evidence of the destructive forces of evil in our world we are not to give in to fear because the power of God is far greater than the power of evil.
Surprisingly, this demonstration of power in exorcising the demons that possessed the two men did not elicit faith among the people. They were scared of Jesus and saw him as a threat to their local economy. They wanted him to leave their locality because they are angry at the loss of their pigs. Apparently they preferred the demons and swine to the presence of Jesus. They did not recognize what a big blunder in failing to recognize that for Jesus the lives and well-being of two people are more important than a thousand pigs.