Jesus went to the border of the Tyrian country. There He entered a house and did not want anyone to know He was there, but He could not remain hidden. A woman, whose small daughter had an evil spirit, heard of him and came and fell at his feet. Now this woman was a pagan, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. Jesus told her, «Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs». But she replied, «Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the crumbs from the children's bread». Then Jesus said to her, «You may go your way; because of such a reply the demon has gone out of your daughter». And when the woman went home, she found her child lying in bed and the demon gone.
Immediately after the multiplication of the bread we are still with the rest of them and there is someone reclaiming it. Through this dialogue Mark is presenting the universality of the salvation and the need to be open. Though I ignore the expression of ‘throwing to the dogs’ I do insist the persistence of this women and her perseverance. It is here we are called to look into and discover her deep faith, which bulldozers everything which were not previewed. Our sincere faith does help us to move forward with certain necessary certitude and reasoning and brings us closer to God. We should never get disappointed before the divine goodness. God has put this intelligence in us which helps us to discern and act accordingly without being broken before the huddles of life. Have a wonderful day.
«A woman, whose small daughter had an evil spirit, heard of him and came and fell at his feet»
Fr. Enric CASES i Martín
Today, we see the faith of a woman that did not belong to God's chosen people, but trusted Jesus could cure her daughter. That mother «was a pagan, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter» (Mk 7:26). Pain and love bring her to insistently beg, ignoring scorn, delays or indignities. And she gets what she is asking for, as she «went home, and she found her child lying in bed and the demon gone» (Mk 7:30).
Saint Augustine used to say that our prayers are not heard because we ask «aut mali, aut male, aut mala». “Mali”, because we are evil, for that our personal dispositions are not good, or they are bad, and we should be asking for, in the first place, to become good; “male” because we pray badly, without faith, not persevering, not humbly; “mala” because we ask for bad things, that is, things which are not good for us, things which can harm us. In the last analysis, prayer is ineffective when it is not true prayer. Therefore, «Pray. In what human venture could you have greater guarantee of success?» (Josemaria Escrivà). The Syrophenician woman is a good mother; she was begging something good («she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter») and she begged rightly («and came and fell at his feet»).
Our Lord wants us to use insistently the petition prayer or prayer of faith. There are, indeed, other kinds of prayers —worship, salvation, prayer of thanks—, but Jesus insists very much on our often using the petition prayer.
Why? Many could be the reasons: because we need God's help to attain our greatest aim; because it expresses hope and love; because it is a clamor of faith. But there is also a motive that, perhaps, is sometimes ignored: God wants things to be a little as we like them. Thus, our petition —which is an act of freedom— along with God's omnipotent power, can contribute to make the world as God wishes and a little as we wish, too. The power of prayer is just wonderful!