Scripture: Lectionary # 332: I Kings 11:4-13. Psalm 106:3-4.35-36.37.40. Mark 7:24-30:
In his old age King Solomon turns his heart away from God and caters to the gods of his numerous foreign wives. As the saying goes, “There is no fool, like an old fool!” (often said by Fr. George Renneker, S.M.). He no longer is a wise king as has forgotten his covenant with the Lord God of Israel. He has become an old fool and his kingdom will soon be divided after his death. We treasure his wisdom of his younger years. He is said to have composed the Song of Songs, Proverbs, and Wisdom in the Catholic canon of Books of the Bible.
In the Gospel we see the woman from the area of Tyre and Sidon coming to Jesus with great hope that he will expel a demon who is dwelling in her little daughter. She came from the Gentile territory area where many of Solomon’s wives had lived and brought him into catering to their “gods” (idols). Unlike them, she is a believer in the person of Jesus who is the Son of God. Though he cajoles her and doesn’t use a very nice image in doing so (the word in Hebrew is kelev for dog and it was used similar to the contempt of Goliath for David), she, so to speak, “hangs in there” and trumps Jesus with her wit and wisdom. He may have been joking with her for she wins the day with the healing of her daughter. Jesus may have been testing her to see how strong her trust and faith in him is. She takes up on the remarks and imagery of Jesus and compares herself to the puppies that pick up the scraps from the table. It is a remarkable little story of an event in Jesus live that shows us both his sense of humor, his smiling and laughing all the while he is accomplishing the cure of the little girl.
We need to have such trust in Jesus by being persistent in our prayers and petitions for help. The story in Mark should help us to “hang in there” even though we may feel God is not listening to our prayers. Our dialogue with God should be a joyful dialogue with the Lord and even a blessed pause in the hectic noise of our surroundings. Our dialogue of prayer should not be a dour one nor should we be dialoguing just with ourselves. “Life isn’t about surviving the storm; but how you are dancing in the rain.” Amen.