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February 14, 2019 Featured

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book PNG2112Gospel: 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 the 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.

Reflections:
“Even the puppies under the table eat the crumbs from the children’s bread.”

Did Jesus, from the outset, consciously understand the full implications of his mission? Some theologians would sup­pose so. Yet there are numerous texts—such as this—that sug­gest that Jesus, fully consistent with his human nature, was ca­pable of learning and widening his perspective. The occasion here is posed by an unnamed gentile woman who accosts Je­sus and begs him to cast out a demon from her sick daughter. Surely she knew her action violated the codes of Jewish so­ciety. Jesus rebuffs her: “Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” Unde­terred, the woman replies with a logic that evidently strikes home. “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs un­der the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Apparently persuaded by her skillful answer, Jesus com­plies with her request.This unnamed woman deserves to be remembered as one of the foremothers of the gentile Church, one who intuited, even while Jesus lived, that his Gospel was for every­ one. She also represents the count­ less faithful throughout history who, though pressured to keep silent, nevertheless persisted and challenged the Church to compre­hend and act upon the liberating logic of salvation.

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