THURSDAY 5TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME GOSPEL COMMENTARY:
THE FAITH OF THE SYROPHOENICIAN WOMAN (Mk 7:24–30).
Thursday, 5th week of Ordinary Time
THE FAITH OF THE SYROPHOENICIAN WOMAN
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.
- 24 The region of Tyre and Sidon is nowadays the southern part of Lebanon — Phoenicia in ancient times. The distance from the lake of Gennesaret to the frontier of Tyre and Sidon is not more than 50 kms (30 miles). Jesus withdrew from Palestine to avoid persecution by the Jewish authorities and to give the Apostles more intensive training.
- 27 Our Lord actually uses the diminutive — “little dogs” to refer to the Gen tiles — thereby softening a scornful expression which Jews used. On the episode of the Canaanite woman cf. notes on parallel passages, Mt 15:21-28.
The dogs, under the table, eat the crumbs that the children throw away. Jesus heals the daughter of the Canaanite woman, a most admirable woman of faith. Saint Augustine comments:
This woman of Canaan, who has just now been brought before us in the lesson of the Gospel, shows us an example of humility, and the way of godliness; shows us how to rise from humility unto exaltation. Now she was, as it appears, not of the people of Israel, of whom came the Patriarchs, and Prophets, and the parents of the Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh; of whom the Virgin Mary herself was, who was the Mother of Christ. This woman then was not of this people; but of the Gentiles. … So then, as being eager to obtain mercy she cried out, and boldly knocked; and He made as though He heard her not, not to the end that mercy might be refused her, but that her desire might be enkindled; and not only that her desire might be enkindled, but that, as I have said before, her humility might be set forth. Therefore did she cry, while the Lord was as though He heard her not, but was ordering in silence what He was about to do. … Let us then learn, or let us hold fast, humility. If we have it not yet, let us learn it; if we have it, let us not lose it. If we have it not yet, let us have it, that we may be grafted in; if we have it already, let us hold it fast, that we may not be cut off.”Sermon 77, 2 and 15.
Dear brethren in Christ, we too are called to grow in humility and faith, to open ourselves to God, to trust Him and also to cry to Him to help us be humble and grow in faith. Jesus’ apparent silence may seem disconcerting, to the point that it prompted the disciples to intervene, but it was not a question of insensitivity to this woman’s sorrow but rather, as St Augustine rightly commented: “Christ showed himself indifferent to her, not in order to refuse her his mercy but rather to inflame her desire for it”.
Let us then untiringly call on Our Lord convinced that He listens to our pleas and grants what is necessary for our salvation. A blessed day ahead, Fr. Rolly Arjonillo.
TOPIC: TOPIC: WHAT IS A MOTHER’S LOVE?
In today’s gospel reading, a Gentile (or pagan) woman comes to Jesus and begs Him to exorcise an evil spirit from her daughter. His answer is unexpected (v 27): ““Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children. and throw it to the dogs.” He was referring to the priority of His ministry – the Jews. In fact, this is the first time He is going to Gentile territory.Can a mother’s love be equated to God’s love?
[VIDEO – ZEALOSE DIETARY FIBER – FROM THE VLOG OF KAREN C. WATKINS]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4cDS8BvTpQ