Today’s readings: Isaiah 51:17-23; Galatians 4:1-11; Mark 7:24-37
Today’s Gospel reading is a curious depiction of Jesus’ encounter with a Syro-Phoenician woman. She asks him to cast the demons out of her daughter, but Jesus dismisses her with apparent disrespect, saying, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
Is Jesus serious? Well, probably not. It appears that Jesus was acting the way first-century Jews usually did when referring to the Gentiles, by calling them “dogs.” But Jesus’ baiting of the woman, like many of his actions, was designed to elicit a response of faith. The woman, instead of taking offense, was happy to play along. She answers, “Yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Faith is clearly shown by her humble response, and Jesus immediately grants her wish, healing her child.
How do we fit into this narrative? Like this desperate woman, there will be times when our prayers will not appear to be heard. We may start to think that God is ignoring or even mocking us in our prayers. But we need to maintain our faith and persist in our prayers, trusting that our Lord will provide what is best for us in the end.
Prayer: Help me to trust in your timing, Lord. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by the Rev. Dr. Dennis Di Mauro, Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Warrenton, VA.