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The Faith of a Pagan
Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus went to the district of Tyre. He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it, but he could not escape notice. Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him.
She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. 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.” When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.
Opening Prayer: Heavenly Father, I come before you today in my need. Help me to bring to my prayer today what I most need, what I most desire, even if I think or feel that it is impossible. Help me to put aside any rationalism or skepticism in your power, your grace, or your interest in my life. I want to be totally open to your goodness and grace.
- Jesus Could Not Escape Notice: Jesus initially tried to keep his mission somewhat -key and hidden because he knew that some people would want to thwart it. Still, those who were open and listening took notice, even non-Jews like this Greek woman. She had a problem and knew where to go for a solution. She fell at his feet and begged. Sometimes we can wonder where God’s presence is in the world, and why some people can’t ever find him. He is not actually distant at all—he is very close and active, and those who have open, ready, and waiting hearts know him.
- The Faith of a Pagan: This mother knew that she did not “deserve” to be in the presence of Jesus, a powerful and famous rabbi, but she also knew that she needed his intercession to fix this problem, so clearly beyond her. She had no other option, no plan B. And, she would not take no for an answer. How many times do we come to God only because we know it’s the “right” thing to do, lacking true faith in God who loves us? Do we feel that we deserve Jesus’s attention and help, or do we fall at his feet in our need?
- Stubborn Love: Jesus seemed to ignore and refuse this woman, yet she did not back down. She was armed only with her need and her intense motherly heart. She had just heard what Jesus could do. Jesus must have been so pleased to see her total surrender, and how humbly she returned his apparent insults. As in so many other places in the Gospels, Jesus shows us that he is always willing to act in the lives of those with faith in him.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, the example of this woman challenges me. I have been taught to be resourceful, independent, and strong in the face of trials or difficulties, to find solutions, and to fix problems myself. Yet, this woman let all that go and she ran to you. She knew her limits and let you be God in her life. Help me to surrender to that depth. Help me to bring to you all the aspects of my life that I pretend to have under control. I trust you to take care of everything.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will surrender one thing to you. I will put total faith and trust in you to provide for me in your goodness and mercy.
For Further Reflection: Let prayer be our most delightful occupation; let prayer be the exercise of our whole life. And when we are asking for particular graces, let us always pray for the grace to continue to pray for the future; because if we leave off praying we shall be lost (St. Alphonsus de Liguori).
Kathleen Almon is a consecrated woman with Regnum Christi who is originally from Texas. She has served youth and families in Mexico, the United States, and Canada, in schools as well as in ECYD and Regnum Christi sections.