What more shall I say? There is not time for me to give an account of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, or of David, Samuel and the prophets. These were men who through faith conquered kingdoms, did what was upright and earned the promises.
They could keep a lion’s mouth shut, put out blazing fires and emerge unscathed from battle. They were weak people who were given strength to be brave in war and drive back foreign invaders.
Some returned to their wives from the dead by resurrection; and others submitted to torture, refusing release so that they would rise again to a better life.
Some had to bear being pilloried and flogged, or even chained up in prison. They were stoned, or sawn in half, or killed by the sword; they were homeless, and wore only the skins of sheep and goats; they were in want and hardship, and maltreated.
They were too good for the world and they wandered in deserts and mountains and in caves and ravines. These all won acknowledgement through their faith, but they did not receive what was promised, since God had made provision for us to have something better, and they were not to reach perfection except with us.
Safe in your presence you hide them, far from human plotting, shielding them in your tent, far from contentious tongues.
Blessed be Yahweh who works for me miracles of his faithful love (in a fortified city)!
In a state of terror I cried, ‘I have been cut off from your sight!’
Yet you heard my plea for help when I cried out to you.
Love Yahweh, all his faithful: Yahweh protects his loyal servants, but he repays the arrogant with interest.
Be brave, take heart, all who put your hope in Yahweh.
Gospel: (Mark 5:1-20)
They reached the territory of the Gerasenes on the other side of the lake, and when he disembarked, a man with an unclean spirit at once came out from the tombs towards him.
The man lived in the tombs and no one could secure him any more, even with a chain, because he had often been secured with fetters and chains but had snapped the chains and broken the fetters, and no one had the strength to control him.
All night and all day, among the tombs and in the mountains, he would howl and gash himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and fell at his feet and shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, son of the Most High God?
In God’s name do not torture me!’ For Jesus had been saying to him, ‘Come out of the man, unclean spirit.’ Then he asked, ‘What is your name?’ He answered, ‘My name is Legion, for there are many of us.’
And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the district. Now on the mountainside there was a great herd of pigs feeding, and the unclean spirits begged him, ‘Send us to the pigs, let us go into them.’
So he gave them leave. With that, the unclean spirits came out and went into the pigs, and the herd of about two thousand pigs charged down the cliff into the lake, and there they were drowned.
The men looking after them ran off and told their story in the city and in the country round about; and the people came to see what had really happened. They came to Jesus and saw the demoniac sitting there — the man who had had the legion in him — properly dressed and in his full senses, and they were afraid.
And those who had witnessed it reported what had happened to the demoniac and what had become of the pigs. Then they began to implore Jesus to leave their neighbourhood. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed begged to be allowed to stay with him.
Jesus would not let him but said to him, ‘Go home to your people and tell them all that the Lord in his mercy has done for you.’ So the man went off and proceeded to proclaim in the Decapolis all that Jesus had done for him.
And everyone was amazed.