Todays gospel (Mark 7:24-30) has always bothered me. It relates the story of a gentile woman, a mother, who begs Jesus to banish the unclean spirit from her daughter. And Jesus answers, initially, that it’s not right to give the food for the children to the dogs. After she pursues the request, stating that even the dogs get to eat the crumbs that fall at the children’s feet, he sends her on her way with the child having been healed.
This just doesn’t fit into my image of Jesus or God. Sorry. I know that God doesn’t have to fit my image, but really – this just strikes me as so far off the mark. Is it just showing that Jesus, too, was having to grow in understanding of God’s Love? Is it there to remind us that each one has the responsibility to point out truth to the powers that be? I don’t know.
What I do know is that it eats at me. This vignette forces me to look beyond simply because it seems so very wrong and out of place. Hence, I do ponder the idea that it could be illustration that everyone, even the Christ, must grow in God’s Love — that we don’t start with the full picture, and probably never have the full picture. I ponder whether it is meant [at least for me] as a reminder that instruction and insight can come from the most unexpected quarter. This woman was an outsider, a stranger, not one of the blessed, ordained bearers of Truth. And yet, she proclaims Truth – maybe from wisdom, maybe from desperation, maybe from selfishness. But, she fights for what she knows to be needed and knows to be True. And her child is saved.
I live in hope that I will both listen and speak when I know it has to be done.