The miracle of the Gadarene swine is one of my absolute favorite miracles, redolent as it is with political symbolism. Dostoevsky even wrote an entire novel about it. Today when it was being read at Mass I noticed for the first time the very significant last line of Matthew's account, and I started laughing. Sometimes people ask for grace, but they don't want the full package; they want health, or freedom from want, or peace of mind--all good things, of course. It must have been frightening for those gentiles to see Jesus' power over demons. We all have our demons, and we usually want release. But sometimes we want to hang on to certain ones just a little longer. Anyway, read the whole story, including the very last sentence. Think about what the loss of an entire herd of pigs must have meant to those people. The story says a lot about people and our reaction to Christ when he really shows up. He can cause quite an uproar.
And when he came to the other side, to the country of the Gadarenes, two demon-possessed men met him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce that no one could pass that way. And behold, they cried out, “What have you to do with us, O Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Now a herd of many pigs was feeding at some distance from them. And the demons begged him, saying, “If you cast us out, send us away into the herd of pigs.” And he said to them, “Go.” So they came out and went into the pigs, and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the waters. The herdsmen fled, and going into the city they told everything, especially what had happened to the demon-possessed men. And behold, all the city came out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.