A Mother’s Intercession


Mark 7:24-30
1Kgs 11:4-13 / Psa 106

Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.
(Mark 7:28)

Three things we must always remember
When we seek God’s help in prayer:
Perseverance, humble surrender,
And faith in His love and power.

Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet He could not keep His presence secret. In fact, as soon as she heard about Him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at His feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.”

“Lord,” she replied, “Even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then He told her, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter.” She went home and found her child lying in bed, and the demon gone. (Mark 7:24-30)

Reflection

The Syrophoenician woman was a pagan Greek whose daughter was possessed by an evil spirit. She believed Jesus was the only one who could free her daughter from the demon’s possession. Somehow she had managed to force her way into the house where our Lord had hoped to find some rest and privacy from the maddening crowd. Even God, after all, in His human state needed some moments of rest. What made the situation worse was that it was not customary for a woman, even of her stature (Greeks then were regarded to belong to a higher social status) to approach a spiritual leader like Jesus – much less a pagan woman (whom the Jews considered unclean. Otherwise, she would be regarded as a prostitute. It is not surprising therefore that Jesus regarded her visit as an intrusion, and so initially reacted in a derogatory way. “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs” (Mk.7:27). Our Lord must have really been offended by her impropriety to have used the word “dog” to refer to the Greek woman’s tribe. But the Syrophoenician woman matched her indomitable spirit with a reply that was so self-deprecating that she wisely captured Jesus’ heart. “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps” (7:28). Touched by her humility, more than her boldness, Jesus gave in to her request, “For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter” (7:29).

This reading about our Lord’s encounter with the Syrophoenician woman has given us a glimpse of the tenderness in the nature of Jesus. It has also taught us that when we seek God’s help in prayer, there must be no hesitation, no doubt, but full of confidence and perseverance. At the same time, we must submit to God in humility, acknowledging our weakness and total dependence on Him. And most important of all, like that Syrophoenician woman, we must have complete faith that in His great mercy, God will grant our prayer.

Dear Jesus, most compassionate, keep us strong in our faith, and help us share it with all people we come in contact with in our life, whether they are Christian, Muslim, Hindu or pagan; for you have shown us in today’s Word, that all may inherit Your kingdom. Amen.

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