Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Canaanite woman

Here's part of a reflection on the first story from this morning's gospel reading:

Surely Jesus of all people should know that God's goodness is bounteous, that there is more than enough food for everyone.

And this is essentially what the Gentile woman points out to Jesus. There's plenty of food for everyone; even once all of those recognized as people, as insiders, are fed, there's still food left over for those who aren't even considered human, the outsiders. And they're all eating the same food; admittedly, some of it is crumbs from the original serving, but it's the same substance. Whether they are at the table or under it, they are all finding nourishment.

And Jesus, apparently moved by her words -- or reminded by her of his own previous miracle -- essentially says, "Good point. You get the same food as all of God's other children anyway, so why not have a seat at the table?" He promptly heals her child, and never again in Mark does he refuse to heal anyone or question anyone's worthiness to be healed.
Jesus understands our initial antipathies to strangers -- after all, he had them himself -- but ultimately there is no one we shouldn't invite to the feast. There is plenty of bread for everyone, even those who have traditionally been relegated to eating crumbs under the table, so we will not go hungry but rather will dine abundantly when we follow Jesus' example and welcome all comers to the table.

-- Karen A. Keely

Welcome all comers. I love those words. There really is no need for us humans to police God's table. Really.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for sharing this ellie. i have often puzzled about this passage, being unsure why jesus, of all people, would discriminate. what's great about this reflection is that it points to jesus' human nature. that he, too, sometimes was limited in his view. it seems taboo within the church to think about jesus in this way. but doing so makes me that much more appreciative of what he accomplished. that he actualized his true divinity in the context of true human-ness with all of its inherent weaknesses.


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