Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Thursday 5th Week in Ordinary Time
February 13, 2014
Thursday 5th Week in Ordinary Time
1 Kgs 11:4-13 / Ps 106: 3-4,35-36,37,40 / Mk 7: 24-30
Reading: 1 Kings 11: 4-13
In Solomon's old age, his wives led him astray to serve other gods and, unlike his father David, his heart was no longer wholly given to Yahweh his God. For he served Astarte the goddess of the Sidonians, and Milcom, the idol of the Ammonites. He did what displeased Yahweh and, unlike his father David, was unfaithful to him. Solomon even built a high place for Chemosh, the idol of Moab, on the mountain east of Jerusalem and also for Molech, the idol of the Ammonites. He did the same for all his foreign wives who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods. Yahweh became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from Yahweh, the God of Israel. Yahweh appeared to him twice and commanded him not to follow other gods. But he did not obey Yahweh's command. Therefore, Yahweh said to Solomon, "Since this has been your choice and you have kept neither my Covenant nor the statutes I commanded you, I will take the kingdom from you and give it to your servant. Nevertheless, I will not do this during your lifetime for the sake of your father David; I will take it from your son. But I will not take it all; I will reserve one tribe for your son for the sake of David my servant, and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen."
Gospel: Mark 7: 24-30
When Jesus left that place, he went to the border of the Tyrian country. There he entered a house, and did not want anyone to know he was there, but he could not remain hidden. A woman, whose small daughter had an evil spirit, heard of him, and came and fell at his feet. Now this woman was a pagan, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. Jesus told her, "Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to puppies." But she replied, "Sir, even the puppies under the table eat the crumbs from the children's bread." Then Jesus said to her, "You may go your way; because of such a response, the demon has gone out of your daughter." And when the woman went home, she found her child lying in bed, and the demon gone.
The Jews were very proud of their status as God's chosen people. As a result, they felt superior and looked down on all other people most especially the Greeks who were the great pork eaters of antiquity. Furthermore, Hellenic culture was much detested by devout Jews like the Pharisees. Therefore, to the ancient members of Mark's church, the initial response of our Lord to the woman is quite understandable. However, through the gospel story, with the final healing of the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman, the evangelist wants his readers to realize that our Lord Jesus came for everyone, by overcoming his cultural prejudice. Jesus wanted to teach his church to be inclusive, not exclusive. The church must welcome anyone who may differ from us in race, culture or social status.
Using the gentle and humble response of the woman to our Lord's initial rejection of her request, the evangelist Mark wants to teach his readers her great humility and her complete trust that our Lord will favorably act on her request. This attitude is in great contrast to the initial attitude of the Syrian general Naaman when the prophet Elisha instructed him to wash in the river Jordan as a cure for his leprosy.
In our world today, do we still exclude certain people due to our prejudices or difference in faith traditions, race, culture or social status? If we were in the place of the Syrophoenician woman, how would we have reacted if we were rejected with these same words of our Lord as narrated in today's gospel? Would our faith and trust overcome our pride?
We pray …
… for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
… for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
… for families who are in need of healing.
… for personal intentions
* Pauline Kahn
… for world peace and reconciliation.
Have a good day!
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