The gift of salvation
February 8, 2018
5th Week in Ordinary Time
1 Kgs 11;4-13
Gospel: Mk 7:24–30
Jesus went to the border of the Tyrian country. There he entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there, but he could not remain hidden. A woman, whose small daughter had an evil spirit, heard of him and came and fell at his feet. Now this woman was a pagan, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. Jesus told her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she replied, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the crumbs from the children’s bread.” Then Jesus said to her, “You may go your way; because of such a reply the demon has gone out of your daughter.” And when the woman went home, she found her child lying in bed and the demon gone.
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
“What sound does a dog make?” a teacher asked. The children chorused, “aw, aw, aw”. “What about a mouse?” The children thought for a while and said, “click, click, click!” The teacher wasn’t prepared to receive that high-tech answer. He wondered, however, why the dog wasn’t given the same “techy” treatment.
Our expressions reveal what images we keep of dogs. We compare ill-mannered persons, for example, to dogs as when we say, “ang imong batasan dili gani makaon ug iro” (not even dogs can stomach your character). In the time of Jesus the Jews compared pagans to dogs to describe how degenerate their lives were. Jesus had made similar insinuations when he told a woman in todays, Gospel reading, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” This statement cannot be interpreted as ill respect. There are many gospel passages pointing to Jesus’ great love for Gentiles and pagans.
In acceding to the request of the pagan woman, Jesus constructively shattered major social and religious boundaries. St. Paul later testified: “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” (Colossians 3:11). It was taboo for a woman to talk to a man in public. The woman Jesus entertained in today’s Gospel reading was also a pagan. By entertaining her in public Jesus broke down the boundaries of division.
Although salvation was first offered to the Jews, his dream was to unite all. He once prayed: “Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me–so that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11). This dream cannot be realized by a click of a mouse. We have to do our fair share by being agents of salvation to all. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., D.M.
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