Faith Daily | 11 February 2021
PRAYER of the WEEK Epiphany Five
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.
Amen APBA p535
GOSPEL for the Day: Mark 7: 24-30
4From 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: Contributed by Marianne Esposito
This passage in some versions has the heading: The Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith.
Jesus has been busy performing miracles and attracting large crowds wherever he went which explains his reluctance to be noticed V.24. However a Gentile woman is desperate for her daughter to be healed and so seeking him out (almost certainly in a Jewish house), despite the cultural difficulties, bows at his feet and makes her request in faith.
V. 27 Jesus response appears harsh and uncaring. Some scholars believe that Jesus strange response was to test the woman’s faith. Also, Jesus at this time was primarily focussing on ministry to the Jews (the children being fed at the table in Jesus' response) - ministry to the Gentiles (the woman’s response re dogs under the table) does come later as recorded in the Acts of The Apostles.
V.28 The woman persists and still responds respectfully “Yes, Lord” … what harm will come to the Gentiles participating in the bounty of the messianic banquet?” This answer was sufficient for Jesus to heal her daughter. The women again expresses her deep faith and respect by going home - his words were sufficient – no proof or his presence at her daughter’s bedside needed!
A challenge to my faith and prayer life:
Do I engage with God in prayer – passionately, fervently and as if conversing with another person face to face? Or am I half-hearted / luke-warm in my relationship with God but still expecting him to answer my shopping list of prayer?
Am I persistent in prayer or easily discouraged when no instant healing/answer/miracle, occurs?
Do I see circumstances through the eyes of faith in God or am I like the scribes and Pharisees – weighing things up and trusting my own intellect?
“The prayer of a righteous is powerful and effective” (James 5:16), the “eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer” (1 Peter 3:12; Psalm 34:15), “the prayer of the upright pleases Him” (Proverbs 15:8). Luke 18:1, we are told to pray with persistence and “not give up.” When we present our requests to God, we are to pray with faith (James 1:5; Mark 11:22-24), and with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6)
FINAL PRAYER: From Julian of Norwich Enfolded in love, Daily meditations with Julian of Norwich
All shall be Charity
I saw and I understood that our faith
is our light In darkness, and this light is God,
our endless day.
The light is charity, and this light is given us by
God’s wisdom, according to our need. For the light
Is not so great that we see the blessed day of heaven now,
Nor is it denied us; but we are given enough light to live
profitably, with labour, deserving the endless glory of God.
Charity keeps us in faith and in hope, and hope leads us on
in charity. Charity uncreated is God; charity created is
our soul in God; charity given is virtue.
This is a gracious gift that works in us so that we love God
for God’s self, and love ourselves in God, and love what God
loves for God’s sake.