Today’s reading: Mk 7:24-37
Today’s reading is the famous scene where a gentile woman begs Jesus to cast a demon out of her daughter. The story is particularly memorable because of the strong language Jesus uses:
And he said to her, “Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
What are we to make of Jesus calling all the Gentiles “dogs”?
First, with hindsight, we can know that Jesus does not truly regard the gentiles as dogs. After his death and resurrection, the Gospel will be sent to them as well. What is important here is the woman’s persistence. Despite the apparent indifference of Jesus, she continues to humbly beg for her prayerful request. How often do we, when our prayers are not immediately answered in some spectacular fashion, abandon our prayers? Do we, when we do not get an immediate response from God, become angry or even spiteful toward God? Let us instead be like the Syrophoenician woman and humbly be persistent in prayer to God.