Faith Daily | 9 February 2023
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p533
Father of all,
who gave your only-begotten Son
to take upon himself the form of a servant
and to be obedient even to death on a cross:
give us the same mind that was in Christ Jesus,
that, sharing in his humility,
we may come to be with him in his glory;
where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 7: 24-30
24From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, 25but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 28But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” 30So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Kathy Allen
Perhaps in need of a good rest from His ever increasing and clamorous believers, Jesus takes a side trip to Tyre. A woman identifying as a Gentile seeks Jesus out and throws herself at his feet begging for her daughter to be healed and cleansed. When Jesus questions the woman as to her beliefs, she does not back down but answers that she always places the needs of the children before that of others. Jesus proceeds to heal the woman’s daughter but there is certainly some tension in the air.
Mark is not one to spare words and this dialogue is terse almost to the point of rudeness. Jesus is struggling to convince people that his message of love is for all, Gentile or Jew, and that he is offering himself to all, when asked for help. He uses the rather confrontational metaphor of children and dogs gathering crumbs under the table; the persistent woman, determined to help her daughter, turns the metaphor around, not taking ‘no’ for an answer. Jesus heals her daughter as the woman restates His own message. This passage has a great deal to say about the love that Jesus has for everyone including the broken, the outcast, the sinner, the non-believer.
It might be as Tom Wright suggests that the purity laws have as much to do with the internal as they do the external – the ‘poisoned wells of human motivation’ beside the laws around hand-washing. The metaphor is apt in that part of it is used in the communion service – “we do not presume to gather up the crumbs under thy table” - when asking for mercy.
Then as now, people have an astonishing capacity to become used to just about anything – including miracles – if it suits their purposes or furthers their desired ends. However, Jesus was and is more than just a good guy and a miracle worker. Jesus is the son of God who has a message about belief and deliverance.
FINAL PRAYER El Nathan and James McGranahan
I believed in God’s wonderful mercy and grace,
Believed in the smile of His reconciled face,
Believed in His message of pardon and peace;
I believed, and I keep on believing.
Believe, and the feeling may come or may go,
Believe in the word that was written to show
That all who believe, their salvation may know;
Believe and keep on believing.