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.” (Mark 7:26-29)
In this time leading to Lent, the Catholic Church’s Gospel readings have been about Christ’s healing power and His compassion for His people. He heals paralytics, the blind, and the deaf. He restores movement, vision, ears to hear, and He frees souls imprisoned by demonic influences that destroy reason and torment people with dark thoughts, fear, and compulsion. He heals lepers who long to be whole and loved again. He proves His power to forgive our sins and to heal us. Even to touch the hem of His garment is to be saved. The one common denominator is to will to be healed. To ask, beg, demand, sneak, get your friends to carry you to Christ. He wills it…He wants you to will it too!
I was very struck by the passage above, because Christ really challenges the Greek woman. In my own Lenten journey, I am challenged by the commandments to love God with all I am, and to love my neighbor as myself, for love of God. I am also, as anyone who knows me will tell you, challenged by obedience and submission to God’s will in my life. The Greek woman is a great example for me. She submits to the seeming insult, replying without hesitation that even dogs receive some of the wealth and love intended for the children. She is both submissive to Christ’s assessment of her, and certain of His love. She submits to His grace and receives his love and healing for her daughter. She takes a place at the family table, with all she loves.
As an American woman, I think I have learned to fear losing myself if I submit. But with God, there is only gain. He loves us, and His grace is there for us, if we can accept it.
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