My dear sisters and brothers, the emphasis in this great story is not on the healing but on the relationship of Jesus to Gentiles. Jesus came to break down the barriers that divide people. He came to save people, not to exclude them. The story of today’s Gospel reflects this struggle in the early Christian community, especially the community that Mark wrote his Gospel.
The Syrophoenician woman, a mother, is asking healing, not for herself, but for her daughter. It must be difficult for a Gentile woman to ask a Jewish man for help, but her need is bigger. However, she comes in faith. What else could Jesus ask? There are many passages in the Scripture where Jesus knows people’s hearts and responds accordingly. Today, Jesus knows this mother’s heart and knows that she will not give up. What do you have in your heart now? Are you going to give up?
What can we learn from this story? This woman serves as an example of persistent prayer and refuses to be discouraged when prayer is not immediately answered. She is a model of how we can engage God in fully and passionate prayer rather than simply reciting rote prayers or a list of our needs. She also shows a contrast in the way she sees Jesus. It is very different from the attitude of the scribes and Pharisees who constantly were challenging Jesus. They did not choose to see through the eyes of faith but chose to see through the eyes of unfaith. This Gentile woman chose to see through the eyes of faith. Through which eyes are you seeing Jesus?
Let us follow the example of this woman and ask Jesus to help us to grow in our relationship with God and always be able to choose to see through the eyes of faith and heart.