In the Gospel, Jesus frees men who were possessed by demons and makes the roads safe, and what do the local people do? They beg Jesus to leave!
What the readings have in common are people who prefer the status quo instead of walking closer with God. Solemnities and feasts and sacrificial offerings are good things, but the people had settled into a status quo that limited their faith to these things alone, forgetting that their relationship with God also requires justice and mercy.
As for the people in today’s Gospel, they had settled into a status quo, a modus vivendi with savage demons. Jesus drove out the demons and disrupted the status quo. It’s not just that a herd of swine was destroyed in the process, the people know that Jesus brings a power that will change their lives and they do not want changes. It is like an alcoholic’s family that has grown accustomed to the alcoholic and reacts badly when the alcoholic reforms. So, we too may go to Church and say our prayers, but also follow along with the selfish ways of the world.
We are not to forsake the Church, our prayers, or our celebrations; but we cannot be satisfied with the status quo. We must continually seek to purify ourselves more and more, to let the Lord continue to change us from within, to be more faithful to the truth, to be more concerned with justice, to be better instruments of mercy, and to walk more closely with Jesus our Lord.