February 9, 2012
Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
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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 Syro-phoenician 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.
Introductory Prayer: Lord, I come before you today
to learn the lessons of faith that you want to
teach me. I want to learn to be patient when
you test my faith. I know you want only to make
it grow and bear more fruit in my life. In this
prayer I desire to trust and love you as you
deserve to be loved by me.
Petition: Lord, make
my faith vibrant and persevering.
1. Seek Ye Higher Gifts:
Our Lord is close to us in our sufferings. In this
Gospel, a daughter suffered from a demonic possession, and her
mother suffered with her. What most strikes us about this
passage, however, is that Our Lord initially adds to the
mother’s suffering by rebuking her. It seems so out of character,
so foreign to the one who is “meek and humble
of heart,” so unlike the gentle Jesus who is ever-sensitive
to the needs of others. Yet Our Lord was about to
confer upon her the greatest gift that could befall any
human being: the gift of salvation represented by the healing
of her daughter. Because the gift was so great, the vessel
that was to contain it needed to be prepared.
Nothing More Than Feelings: It is important to remember two
principles about our feelings. First, we are not to treat them
as if they were the infallible compass of our spiritual
lives. Second, their lack of support does not mean that Our
Lord is abandoning us. We can easily forget these two principles
and blindly follow our feelings, persuasions and seductions. We can
wrongly confuse feelings with faith. This believing woman beautifully shows
the attitude we must maintain. Her example of humility in the
face of Jesus’ seemingly hostile rebuke truly astounds us. No rebellion,
no complaints, no resentments, no pity party. She remains determinedly fixed
on Christ. She maintains a spirit of humility and faith in
him who has the power to deliver her daughter from
the devil. Am I capable of persisting in my prayer
even when it seems Our Lord is turning a deaf
3. A Cathedral of Faith for All to See: If
only we could learn from her example! With such a firm
foundation to build on, Jesus draws out of her an
even greater faith — as large as a cathedral for
the entire world to see. We need to ponder and contemplate
the mysterious and wise ways of Our Lord when we
suffer from his rebukes. We must hold fast to humility, mindful
that we are creatures always loved by Christ, our Good
Shepherd. He promised he would not leave us orphans. Why then such
Conversation with Christ: Lord, let me not confuse
faith with feelings. Let me not confuse trust with mere sentiment.
Never let me reduce my relationship with you
to feelings, no matter how pleasurable or worthy I think
they may be at that moment. Help me to remain humble
in my dispositions and firm in my convictions, seeking only
to trust, love and please you.
Resolution: When I experience pleasant,
worthy or helpful feelings, I will thank and praise God,
and I will channel these feelings toward what is more
relevant: living out the deeper virtue of faith.