Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
At the Table of the Lord, we are all God's Children
1 Kings 11:4-13, Psalm 106:3-4, 35-37 & 40, Mark 7:24-30
At first glance, our Lord may seem a bit harsh in today's Gospel. He seemingly dismisses the woman who was "Greek" and a "Syrophoenician by birth" after requesting healing for her daughter. By pointing out her ethnic identity, Mark indicates that she was a pagan and not of Jewish heritage. Jesus mirrors this understanding when responding to her plea: "Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of children and throw it to the dogs." The word "children" symbolized the long understanding that the people of Israel would be the chosen ones to receive the Good News. During that time, "dog" was a Jewish insult implying "godless."
Throughout the Gospels, Jesus' words and actions point directly towards the spirit of the law of love and not the letter. He knew of this woman's steadfast faith. It is interesting to note that this "Greek and Syrophoenician woman by birth" was the only one to identify Jesus as "Lord" in the Gospel of Mark. Her pure faith understood the heart of Jesus and His divinity. Her humble reply of, "Lord, even the dogs under that table eat the children's scraps" should move us to recall our mission as our Lord's disciples.
Our Jesus healed the woman's daughter. In what ways can we spread the Good News and assist others in the understanding that they, too, can be cured at the table of the Lord?
The Bread of Life is meant for all of God's children. Anyone who persists in the faith and humbly accepts Jesus as Lord will be fed and healed because we are all God's children at the Table of the Lord.