Jesus travels through the regions outside of Galilee, in the district of Tyre, inhabited mostly by pagans. His presence is made known to a Syrophoenician woman who begs him to drive the demon out of her daughter. She falls at the feet of Jesus like a client seeking a favor from a patron.
Echoing the belief of the Jews, Jesus replies that the favor of the God of Israel should go first to the children of the family, that is, to Israel. Adding to her disappointment and distress, Jesus calls her kind “dogs,” a strong insult in the Mediterranean world, since dogs are scavengers, not domestic pets.
The woman’s reply indicates not just her understanding of her [pagan] people’s standing before the God of Israel but also her unusual trust in Jesus as God’s broker. Like Jacob who wrestles with a mysterious person by Jabbok River and receives a blessing (cf Gn 32:25-26), the distraught mother “wrestles” with Jesus and is rewarded with the healing of her child.
Gospel • MARK 7:24-30
Jesus went off 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.
SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2020,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.