Today’s Gospel Reading: Mark 7:24-30 – 5th ORDINARY WEEK: Thursday, 14 February 2019
What do you make of the words of Jesus to this Syrophoenician woman? Do you think Jesus was in any way rejecting this good person? By no means. He was testing her faith, in order to teach us the power of faith. Jesus asked for faith every time a request for healing was made. The woman had asked Him for a healing in her daughter. She had not yet expressed her faith. We can only reach God through faith.
Jesus had earlier healed the dying servant of a Roman officer, a pagan. The man had expressed his great faith in those now-famous words, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come into may house. Only say the word and my boy shall be healed.” Jesus then had said, “I have not found such great faith even in the house of Israel.”
Now the Lord wanted to show His followers again how great the faith of pagans can be. He tested this woman’s faith and perseverance by saying, “I was only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” After all, it the Israelites whom God had honored with the gift of faith, the gift of His revealed truth in their Holy Scriptures. It was to them that God had promised the Savior.
The Syrophoenician woman expressed beautifully that faith and perseverance which Jesus had recommended in several parables on prayer. She said, “Even the dogs can eat scraps that fall from the children’s table.” Her humility and her trust in the goodness of Jesus are wonderful.
Jesus replies, “Great is your faith. It will be done for you as you desire!” Faith is the power by which wee touch Jesus, the power by which we can respond to God’s action in us. In His lifetime Jesus came into contact with many women and men of faith by His physical presence: His words, His touch, His powerful acts of healing. And He wishes to continue His presence among us by His words., His touch, His actions. This He does by the Sacraments: there He touches us by word and action, as often as we reach out to Him with faith.
Jakarta, 14 February 2019
A Christian Pilgrim