Scene 1, Act One (or,,an odd collections of random thoughts) ;
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.” Here is a story rich in imagery. A visualization of what is happening must be stressed, and after that imagination should run wild.
In the scene Jesus, the Son of God and Son of Man, walks through a door and into a house and in that house he is greeted by a woman and a daughter. Not an uncommon scene. The daughter is ill, and the woman asks for Jesus’s help. Here a dialogue between the two begins with a little bit of controversy. The scene begins with a woman a daughter and a house, but halfway through the story new elements are added to the set. The set now includes a table, some food, and a dog. The Son of God, a woman, a house, a daughter, a table, a dog, a discussion that includes a disagreement. How hard is it to imagine that? [The kitchen table, the dinner table. the stage is set.]
In the story the woman asks that Jesus cures her daughter of a demon, and Jesus replies that the children should be fed first and not the dogs. The translation of dog is debatable, some think the word really is “puppy!” The story traditionally is interpreted to be that Jesus came first to deliver the gospel message to the people of the covenant and not the gentiles. But why the imagery? Why children, puppies! , and food? I can understand the adult argument about priorities, but I also can understand children and puppies. I can especially understand a puppy’s insatiable appetite.[Uncle Paul suddenly walks across the room, exit stage left]. I can use my imagination. I can see the parents feeding the child, and can also see that child immediately taking that food and giving it to that puppy. I have seen this before. Many times before.This is a classic domestic situation, it speaks of the roles of parents, husband and wife. It also speaks of the innocence of the child. The parents in this little play differentiate between people, the child does not. To the child the puppy is as important as the parent or the chosen people or the gentiles. Imagine that innocence, no wonder Jesus said bring the children to Him.
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
[ think: So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:27) What is the nature of God?]
[think: Mary as “pre-eminent and as a wholly unique member of the Church”, declares her to be the Church’s “type and outstanding model in faith and charity”]
[im·ag·i·na·tion the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses:]
Is there any surprise that Jesus set up a squabble in this domestic situation, did the Son of God ever really intend not to heal that child? Throughout the gospel, had Jesus ever refused to heal anyone? Certainly before plucking some fruit from a tree man and woman would have seen the goodness of God, but in this little drama the consequences of Adam and Eves actions become visible. They do not simply see the goodness of God, evil and judgement also enters into their consciousness. They become good people and bad people with no shortage of bickering between them, and the cure for this dilemma is expressed or explained through the innocence of a child. Certainly the bickering between nations comes to mind today.
[rec·on·cil·i·a·tion: the restoration of friendly relations (between God and man, between mankind]
Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time