After crossing the sea they arrived to the country of NewYorkeenes. And as Jesus stepped from the boat, right beneath those tall buildings, they were met by a man who suffered greatly, tormented by unclean spirits.
That man often slept half-collapsed on subway benches, was seen pushing a shopping cart full of smelly stuff, and was heard screaming and screeching in the parks. Many times they tried to help him in hospital emergency rooms around the city. Nurses bathed him, civilized him and he started to receive a proper medical care. But just as he was on the mend, the demons would return with vengeance, depriving him of proper medical care and driving him out of hospitals against any medical advice. It seemed no one had control over this situation.
And this man, when he saw Jesus from a distance, ran to him, bowed to him, and said, “Why do you even bother with me, Most Holy One?” Jesus immediately knew that the man was tormented by a serious demon and asked for identity, “What is your name, you demon, who torments this man?” And the demon answered: “Our name is Grand Old Party, for we are many.” And they begged Jesus not to send them out and away from their high-rise towers, seaside manors, golf courses and other possessions.
Enlightened by divine wisdom, Jesus immediately saw one fitting solution how they could stay close to their petty earthly possessions - he sent them to the ubiquitous rats. And although normal rats are quite clever to avoid plain traps and baits, now, as soon as this party of greedy demons entered into the rats, in their greed they started to stuff themselves with piles of poison. That was the end of them and the man was finally happy and free.
But you probably know how it goes... Many people in that country also loved their possessions more than they loved their neighbors. They were uneasy about this outcome; some were offended, some were even frightened. They asked Jesus to leave them alone and shortly afterwards they had an even grander, even older demon party going. But the healed man stood behind and kept reminding everyone that greed kills while divine compassion heals.
Of course the authenticity of the discovered fragment is seriously disputed, there are many indications of this text being a late forgery. Nevertheless, some progressive scholars are convinced that this newly discovered fragment can help illuminate certain, often misunderstood, aspects of an authentic Gospel story (Mark 5:1-19 and Synoptic parallels).
Some of the insights can include, for instance: that the afflicted person could be a personification of a broader population; that the demonism and the name of demon(s) could have a biting political implication; and that different manifestations of demonism could correspond to reality and hardships of daily lives of common people. Be it as it may, we found this story worth sharing.
|Re. Laura Jervis talking at the Health Care Vigil|