The first reading from Genesis presents God’s attitude toward the human being he had made. “It’s not good for him to be alone. I’ll make a suitable partner for him.” Then God parades all of the animals before Adam. Adam gives them names but he cannot find a suitable partner. Personally, I love animals but God knew and Adam figured out that no animal can be a suitable partner for a human being. We are wired for human contact. I love the response of Adam when he finally sees Eve for the first time – “at last.” That is the Hebrew equivalent of the English word “Wow!” There is such a complementarity between them that the two become one. They cling to each other and experience humanity in all of its fullness.
The psalmist sets forth the blessings of those who fear the Lord and walk in his ways. All of the images in the psalm speak of fruitfulness. Your work turns to gold, your spouse is like a fruitful vine, your children like olive plants, and you live to see Jerusalem prosper.
The Gospel lesson is the story of Jesus’ interaction with a non-Jewish woman who comes to him to exorcize her daughter. Some have suggested that this story is of a slowly maturing Jesus who finally is brought to the realization of his worldwide mission by this persistent woman. I do not understand this story this way. In fact, the story is not so much about Jesus as about this woman. Gentiles were “dogs” to the Jews. When she made her request Jesus said that the children should eat first and that it is not right to take the food prepared first for the children and throw it to the dogs. Her response? I don’t need the food on the table. All I need is equivalent to what a dog might have given to it under the table by one of the kids. A “scrap” is all I need. A scrap? She is asking him to heal her daughter. A scrap! If that is a “scrap,” what would the full meal be? Jesus comes bringing the eucharistic banquet first to the Jewish people, and only later to the Gentiles. This woman says, in essence, I do not want to wait. I do not need the full meal. A scrap will do. Jesus gives her that scrap.
Is there a common theme in the readings and the life of St. Scholastica? God makes our lives fruitful. The God who does this is the one to whom healing a person is like a scrap of food thrown to the dogs. If this is the case, I wonder what it will be like to sit down at the banquet table of the Lord in the kingdom of God?
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