February 9, 2012
Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
The LORD, therefore, became angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice (for though the LORD had forbidden him this very act of following strange gods, Solomon had not obeyed him). 1 Kings 11:9-10
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." Mark7: 27-29
Father, come to us as we are distracted with our modern idols. Send your Son with his holy invitation of pity-filled love and saving help to ask us to turn to you. With the gifts of the Holy Spirit, strengthen us on the journey so that we might remain on your straight path. Amen.
If Jesus was serious about flying under the radar screen to avoid detection by the civil and religious authorities of the day, why did he persist in his miraculous healing of the problems of everyday people? In his divinity, he could foresee not only that the people he touched would approach him in search of his pity and his love, but also he "fore-knew" how they would react in proclaiming these miracles to their family and friends.
Even if the people touched did keep the miracle in confidence, those around them could not help but notice the affect of this pity on those who were healed. Their neighbors would see the man without leprosy, the daughter without illness, the blind with sight.
Today, we see Jesus enter into a house and seek silent refuge. But that was not to be. People heard he was there and moved to encounter him. The actions of the Greek woman is in stark contrast to the actions of Solomon in the first reading. Solomon had a personal encounter with the Lord. Despite this and all the gifts with which the King was blessed, Solomon turned away. The people Jesus encounters in the Gospel turn to Him even though they have only heard about his healing and had no other personal contact or relationship with him.
The other contrast between the first reading and the Gospel is the impact of this faith on their children and those around them. Solomon's actions reverberate on his children negatively. Conversely, the faith of the woman in today's first reading reverberates on her daughter positively. Her persistence and repentance cuts through the tension of the words and attitudes of Jesus who tried to test her and turn her away. She would not be discouraged because her faith gave her the courage to persist in her approach to encounter just a touch from the Lord. She knew that everything good is worth pursuing despite the obstacles she might encounter.
These actions help to illustrate the primary theme Jesus proclaimed at the outset of his public ministry. “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)
Everything Jesus did was to help people to repent -- to turn away from the things in life that made them happy and instead to seek happiness in the Word of God. So your choice is the choice of Solomon and the Greek woman -- in which way do you want to turn?
How will your decision affect those around you?
What obstacles and tensions are you encountering on your path?