Thursday 10 February 2022

About Today Readings

1 Kings 11:4-13. Lord, remember us, for the love you bear your people – Psalm 105(106):3-4, 35-37, 40. Mark 7:24-30.

The astuteness of the Syro-Phoenician woman

The Syro-Phoenician woman in Mark’s Gospel hears about Jesus and seeks him out in the house where he’s hiding. He is a Jew, she is a foreigner – a Gentile.

Jesus’ response to her plea for help reinforces the boundary between ‘children’ (Israelites) and ‘dogs’ (Gentiles), a rebuff severe enough to discourage even the most thick-skinned person. Yet this woman has the courage, the wit, a powerful love for her unwell daughter and a conviction in Jesus’ healing power as encouragement to stake her claim on the ‘children’s crumbs’.

This is an upheaval of the expected order. A crack of light, a change in who is ‘insider’ and who is ‘outsider’. Our sealed identities and communities can be broken open by people who have different ideas about life and faith. In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis invites all people of good will to dialogue. We are ‘strengthened and enriched as a result of dialogue with those unlike ourselves’. (FT#148) God of all, may my heart be opened by the difference I encounter in others.

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