In Mark 5:19, why is the man's faith denied?

I have a question from reading the following verse recently in Scripture: “…the man from whom the demons were gone out prayed him that he might be with him. But he sent him away, And he suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go, Return to thy house, unto thy friends, and tell them and declare how great things God the Lord hath done for thee, and how he had mercy on thee.” (Mark 5:19)

In light of the fact that many other times throughout the Gospel Christ adjures others to “follow Me,” why is it that this man’s faith is denied and he is not permitted to follow?

Dear Mike,

Jesus has the right to determine what vocation He wants us to follow. This is how a vocation works. We don’t call Jesus. Jesus calls us! He did not deny the man’s faith. He had just freed him from demonic possession—quite an act of benevolence! Jesus simply wanted him to be a missionary to the people of his own town. Eventually, Jesus was to send the others out with a similar mission.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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