Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time




Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Today’s Audio Mass Readings – Lectionary: 332

1st Reading – 1 KGS 11:4-13

When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods,
and his heart was not entirely with the LORD, his God,
as the heart of his father David had been.
By adoring Astarte, the goddess of the Sidonians,
and Milcom, the idol of the Ammonites,
Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD;
he did not follow him unreservedly as his father David had done.
Solomon then built a high place to Chemosh, the idol of Moab,
and to Molech, the idol of the Ammonites,
on the hill opposite Jerusalem.
He did the same for all his foreign wives
who burned incense and sacrificed to their gods.
The LORD, therefore, became angry with Solomon,
because his heart was turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel,
who had appeared to him twice
(for though the LORD had forbidden him
this very act of following strange gods,
Solomon had not obeyed him).

So the LORD said to Solomon: “Since this is what you want,
and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes
which I enjoined on you,
I will deprive you of the kingdom and give it to your servant.
I will not do this during your lifetime, however,
for the sake of your father David;
it is your son whom I will deprive.
Nor will I take away the whole kingdom.
I will leave your son one tribe for the sake of my servant David
and of Jerusalem, which I have chosen.”

Responsorial Psalm – PS 106:3-4, 35-36, 37 AND 40

R. (4a) Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
Blessed are they who observe what is right,
who do always what is just.
Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people;
visit us with your saving help.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
But they mingled with the nations
and learned their works.
They served their idols,
which became a snare for them.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.
They sacrificed their sons
and their daughters to demons.
And the LORD grew angry with his people,
and abhorred his inheritance.
R. Remember us, O Lord, as you favor your people.

Alleluia – JAS 1:21BC

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel – MK 7:24-30

Jesus went to the district of Tyre.
He entered a house and wanted no one to know about it,
but he could not escape notice.
Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him.
She came and fell at his feet.
The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth,
and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter.
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.”
When the woman went home, she found the child lying in bed
and the demon gone.

Catholic Daily Reflections

A Manifestation of Faith

Saint Jerome Emiliani, Priest

Soon a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard about him. She came and fell at his feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. 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.” Mark 7:25-27

Why did Jesus talk to this woman that way? She comes to Him, probably in fear and trembling, falls down at His feet, and begs Him to help her daughter. At first, one might expect Jesus to reach out in gentleness and compassion, ask her about her daughter, and say to her, “Oh, most certainly I will help your daughter. Bring me to her.” But that’s not what He says. He tells her, that “it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” Ouch! Really? Did He really say that? Why would He say such a thing?

First of all, we have to know that whatever Jesus says is an act of love. It’s an act of the greatest kindness and mercy. We know this because this is who Jesus is. He is love and mercy itself. So how do we reconcile this apparent contradiction?

The key to understanding this interaction is to look at the final result. We must look at how this woman responded to Jesus and how the conversation ended. When we do this, we see that the woman responds with incredible humility and faith. What Jesus says is true. In a way, we can interpret what He says to mean that no one has a right to His grace and mercy. No one, including her and her daughter, “deserve” to have God act in their lives. Jesus knows this and, by saying what He says, gives this woman a wonderful opportunity to manifest her deep faith for all to see. His words allow her to shine forth as a beacon of faith, hope and trust. This is Jesus’ goal and it worked. It worked because, when she came to Him, He was immediately aware of the fact that she did indeed have a deep faith. He knew that she would respond with humility and trust. The woman did and thus we are able to witness the manifestation of her faith and humility.

Reflect, today, upon the beautiful faith of this humble woman. Try to put yourself in her shoes and hear Jesus speak these same words to you. How would you respond? Would you respond with anger or agitation? Would your pride be wounded? Or would you respond with an even deeper humility, acknowledging the fact that all God gives is a gift which we have no right to receive. Responding this way is most likely the act of faith God is waiting for from each of us and is the key to that outpouring of His mercy we so need.

Lord, please humble me. Strip away my pride. Help me to fall at Your feet. Help me to trust You so deeply that You are compelled, by my love of You, to open Your storehouse of grace and pour it down upon me. Jesus, I trust in You.

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