AD SENSE

5th Week, Thursday, Feb 11

 5th Week, Thursday, Feb 11

Genesis 2:18-25 / Mark 7:24-30

 God makes a woman; Then God brought her to the man.

 

In the early 1980s, syndicated columnist Bob Greene cited a study by an attorney, Michael Minton, on the monetary value of a wife’s services. He began by listing the functions that almost every good mother performs. Here are just a few that we rarely consider: chauffeur, family counselor, dietician, public relations hostess, budget manager, interior decorator.

After completing the list, Minton assigned an hourly rate to each function. When he added up the values of the functions performed in one week, he found that they totaled almost $800 a week. That’s roughly $40,000 a year. Minton’s study gave a lot of husbands a renewed appreciation of their wives.

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How deeply do we appreciate our spouses? Our parents? “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” Theodore Hesburgh

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Why are men and women attracted to one another? Love is stronger than death and stronger than the bonds with parents. They become one chair, most in the chair of the child. Human beings are social, and need and equal partner, created from near the heart of man, “flesh from my flesh and bone from my bones.” And now the man can say “you, thou.”

Despised pagans too are offered salvation. The doctors of the Law had called the region where Jesus worked this miracle a region of dogs. God lifts up the lowly who believe. Grace is no exclusive privilege for God’s people. The kingdom is also for pagans.

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There are two words that can sound rather depressive and discouraging at times. Those two words are NO and END. Putting it into a sentence, we can say that a NO puts an END to further requests and shuts the door for good ... almost. But the word END can also be an acronym for Effort Never Dies and NO can also be an acronym for Next Opportunity.

The gospel passage of today initially seems to be rather depressive and discouraging. It may also seem to make Jesus look rather cold as He snubbed the Syrophoenician woman who came to Him and fell at His feet to beg Him to cast out the devil out of her daughter. Of course, in the end, all ended well as Jesus granted her request and He even cast out the devil just by the power of His Word. But there are many spiritual lessons that we can learn from here, and especially from the Syrophoenician woman. One of which is that a NO from Jesus did not put an END to her hopes or discouraged her from making another effort with her request.

For that woman, NO means Next Opportunity and END means Effort Never Dies. In other words, she never gave up on Jesus and she remained positive despite the initial rejection. May we learn this lesson from this Syrophoenician woman and have faith in Jesus because there is NO END to His love for us.

 

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    Encountering Christ: 

    1. Jesus Could Not Escape Notice: Jesus initially tried to keep his mission somewhat  -key and hidden because he knew that some people would want to thwart it. Still, those who were open and listening took notice, even non-Jews like this Greek woman. She had a problem and knew where to go for a solution. She fell at his feet and begged. Sometimes we can wonder where God’s presence is in the world, and why some people can't ever find him. He is not actually distant at all—he is very close and active, and those who have open, ready, and waiting hearts know him. 

    2. The Faith of a Pagan: This mother knew that she did not “deserve” to be in the presence of Jesus, a powerful and famous rabbi, but she also knew that she needed his intercession to fix this problem, so clearly beyond her. She had no other option, no plan B. And, she would not take no for an answer. How many times do we come to God only because we know it’s the “right” thing to do, lacking true faith in God who loves us? Do we feel that we deserve Jesus’s attention and help, or do we fall at his feet in our need? 

    3. Stubborn Love: Jesus seemed to ignore and refuse this woman, yet she did not back down. She was armed only with her need and her intense motherly heart. She had just heard what Jesus could do. Jesus must have been so pleased to see her total surrender, and how humbly she returned his apparent insults. As in so many other places in the Gospels, Jesus shows us that he is always willing to act in the lives of those with faith in him.

    Conversing with Christ: Jesus, the example of this woman challenges me. I have been taught to be resourceful, independent, and strong in the face of trials or difficulties, to find solutions, and to fix problems myself. Yet, this woman let all that go and she ran to you. She knew her limits and let you be God in her life. Help me to surrender to that depth. Help me to bring to you all the aspects of my life that I pretend to have under control. I trust you to take care of everything. 

    Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will surrender one thing to you. I will put total faith and trust in you to provide for me in your goodness and mercy. 

    For Further Reflection: Let prayer be our most delightful occupation; let prayer be the exercise of our whole life. And when we are asking for particular graces, let us always pray for the grace to continue to pray for the future; because if we leave off praying we shall be lost (St. Alphonsus de Liguori).

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Opening Prayer

Father of all, long ago you chose the people of Israel to make your name known to all nations. Your Son Jesus Christ, made it clear that forgiveness and life are the share of all who believe in him. Make your Church truly a place of encounter for all those who grope for you, that all obstacles and barriers may be removed and that the riches of all nations and cultures may reveal the thousand faces of the love you show us in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.