Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity 05 09 21
Gospel: Mark 7:24-end
Jesus had travelled to the region of Tyre, a region where non Jewish people live. It is quite interesting that Jesus had actually gone to this region which is the northwest of Galilea where he usually lives.
It is also a very daring thing to do because it was understood that if a Jewish person visits a non-Jewish person then they become ritually unclean. Yet here is Jesus in a non-Jewish area which they would have called, gentile land. The word Gentile is used in a derogatory manner in a manner to say that the gentiles are excluded.
It is quite amazing to note that Jesus had some friends there in a non-Jewish world and he was visiting one of their homes. Though the visit was meant to be a secret, people come to know of Jesus visit. Here comes a woman of Syrophoenician descent and she comes to Jesus asking him to heal her daughter who is unwell.
Jesus seem to hesitate saying ‘Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.’
It appears that Jesus was trying to insult this woman but when we think that he has deliberately travelled to a region which is forbidden to Jewish people, Jesus appears to see what this woman makes out of him. She responds to Jesus saying even dogs need food and they need to live.
Jesus was amazed by her faith and says, for what you have said your daughter is healed. It was as if she claimed healing for her daughter. The Syrophoenician woman was not willing to take no as an answer from Jesus. She is very iconic as she stands so beautifully to establish that non Jewish people also can claim God’s grace and they are not excluded in God’s scheme of salvation.
In both the Old Testament reading from Isaiah chapter 35 we heard about God’s redeeming grace in the way God heals and restores people’s lives in a radical manner. James in his epistle reminds us that our faith in God has to be translated in action. The action he refers to are acts of kindness to people in suffering and in need.
No one is excluded from God’s grace and we are channels of God’s grace to the world.