10 a.m. - Chapel of the Resurrection
The Rev. James A. Wetzstein, University Pastor, presiding and preaching
James tells us to stop showing favoritism in the assembly, treating the rich visitor with more honor than the poor one. Jesus himself seems to show partiality in his first response to the Syrophoenician woman in today’s gospel. Was he testing her faith in saying Gentiles don’t deserve the goods meant for God’s children? Or was he speaking out of his human worldview, but transcended those limits when she took him by surprise with her reply? Either way, the story tells us that God shows no partiality. Everyone who brings her or his need to Jesus is received with equal honor as a child and heir.
Gracious God, throughout the ages you transform sickness into health and death into life. Open us to the power of your presence, and make us a people ready to proclaim your promises to the whole world, through Jesus Christ, our healer and Lord.
In Mark’s gospel, encounters with women usually signify turning points in Jesus’ ministry. Here, a conversation with a Syrophoenician woman marks the beginning of his mission to the Gentiles.
24 [Jesus] set out and went away to the region of Tyre.
He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could
not escape notice,25 but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit
immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. 26 Now the woman was a Gentile,
of Syrophoenician origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the
children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” 28 But she answered him, “Sir,
even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29 Then he said to her, “For
saying that, you may go—the demon has left your daughter.” 30 So she went home, found the
child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
31 Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went by way of Sidon towards the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32 They brought to him a deaf man who had an impediment in his speech; and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33 He took him aside in private, away from the crowd, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue. 34 Then looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35 And immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36 Then Jesus ordered them to tell no one; but the more he ordered them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37 They were astounded beyond measure, saying, “He has done everything well; he even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak.”
Agnus Day is a weekly cartoon drawn by Pr. James Wetzstein, usually based on Sunday's gospel reading. It is updated on this site on Wednesdays.