The Gospel according to Mark (7:24-30)
Jesus went to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.” When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
Reflection: At some point in our lives, perhaps even now we have all been outcasts. Maybe because of ethnicity, finances, sex, or any of a number of differences used to exclude us from belonging to or participating with others. I was a very average student, did not possess great athletic skills, was from the “poor” side of town so I know what it feels like to be on the outside looking in. However, a victim can also be a perpetrator. When given the opportunity I have been just as guilty as the next person of excluding others for some of the same reasons. But I hope there is one thing we have learned from our own experience or the lives of the saints or saints in the making (us). If something is important enough there is nothing we will not do for someone we love.
In today’s gospel Jesus is approached by a Syrophoenician woman whose daughter, we can only imagine, was suffering possessed by a demon. She was an outsider and was going to great lengths to ask Jesus for help. Before we jump on our high horse and wag a finger at Jesus for how he responds to her plea keep in mind we are listening to an account of what happened long ago. There was definitely a clear separation of people and cultures. There were the Jewish people, those chosen, cared for, and guided by God. Then there was everyone else, Gentiles. And, as enlightened as we might want to think we are, we still struggle with separation by race, religion, etc. So, back to the story. Jesus once again makes it clear that he came to minister, heal, and save those who respond to his invitation to believe in him and his gift of salvation. Yes, God called the people of Israel to be his and promised he would be there for them. John 4:22 says salvation is from the Jews meaning Jesus, the Messiah was Jewish. But this savior came so all could have an opportunity to experience his love, mercy, forgiveness, and healing. All we are called to do is have faith, like our Syrophoenician sister.
Action of the Day: Chose someone to pray for in a very specific way or intention. Then let them know via a card, text, phone call that you have lifted them up in prayer and remind them they are important enough to care about.